Information & article kindly submitted by Ron Stanway - General Manager, Entertainment & Promotions for the Butlin Group 1974 to 1990 and Competition Producer 1968 to 1990
In 1946 the weekly bathing beauty competition took on a new perspective when it was decided to bring back all the weekly winners to an end of season final at the same camp that they had qualified at. These were called Area Finals and from each of these the first two ladies would then go forward to the Grand Final which was held as one of the attractions at the, Butlin's Festival of Reunion at the Royal Albert Hall from 1946 until the mid sixties. Following this the Finals transferred to one of the camps or hotels for a Autumn or Springtime attraction.
These reunions were for the holidaymakers and similar events were held throughout the country in the larger towns and cities.
With the introduction of the Holiday Princess Grand Final the competition became of national interest and accordingly attracted a steady flow of sponsors of all kinds - Daily Sketch, Chrysler UK, Weekend Magazine, Babycham, Ford Motor Company, Austin Motor Company, Southern Comfort and latterly the Royal Marines.
The Royal Marines became involved in 1979 and continued each year until the demise of the competition following the 1997 final. The young lady chosen as the Holiday Princess would also be invited to become Miss Globe & Laurel, the pin-up to the Royal Marines throughout the world.
The Globe & Laurel is of course the cap badge of the Royal Marines.
Those winners able to devote the time to this title have enjoyed an exciting year visiting the troops in various parts of the world, learning to ski, trying the Assault Course and some even had the courage to free-fall parachute with the Royal Marine team.
Ron Stanway, General Manager, Entertainment & Promotions for the Butlin group and producer of all the major beauty competitions (1968 to 1990), first instigated this tie-up with the Royal Marines and each year, at whichever Butlin site the Grand Final was held, would engage the world famous Royal Marine Free-Fall team to appear on the day of the Final.
The previous year's winner was smuggled into the helicopter somewhere en-route to the site and following the display the helicopter would return, hover over the sportsfield and the retiring Holiday Princess would then be winched down to a guard of honour consisting of the Free-Fall team and a line of Redcoats.
At the Final in the evening, a Corp's of Drums (4 men) of the Royal Marines band from Portsmouth were featured in the show. They first played fanfares for the introduction of the judges and then, during the competition, between the first and second parts of the Final, provided a cabaret spot playing drums and bugles in what is known as `Beating the Retreat'.
Pictures show Miss Diana Brookes from Liverpool, 1983 Winner Holiday Princess (top left) and 1988 Winner of Globe and Laurel - Miss Sara Whitehead from Leeds (above right), both pictures were kindly provided by Ron Stanway
A list of the Title winners follows
|1946||Pamela Bramah||1959||June Dawson||1972||Sorralyn Croston, London||1985||Debbie Fisher, Ampthill|
|1947||Unknown ?||1960||Barbara Smith, London||1973||Joy Samuel, London||1986||Dawn Johnson, Coventry|
|1948||Unknown ?||1961||Cheryl Driscoll, Manchester||1974||Denise Brownlow, Enfield||1987||Nikki-Ann Thomas, Coventry|
|1949||Sheila House||1962||Delyse Humphreys||1975||Anne-Marie Malin, Anstey||1988||Sara Whitehead, Leeds|
|1950||Sylvia Hill||1963||Nanette Slack, Ipswich||1976||Gay Spink, Halifax||1989||Tammy Brown, Coalville|
|1951||Patricia Bryne||1964||Joan Lofthouse, London||1977||Louise English, London||1990||Tracey Williams, Selston|
|1952||Aileen Chase||1965||Christine Sessions, Ilford||1978||Susan Berger, Altrincham||1991||Michelle Eglington|
|1953||Patricia Butler||1966||Bunnie Smith, Cliftonville||1979||Karen Metcalf, Greenford||1992||Amanda Johnson|
|1954||Aileen Kearney||1967||Nina Scott, Rotherham||1980||Janet Withey, Oldham||1993||Nicholl Kelly, Peterlee|
|1955||Phyliss O'Connor, Staffs||1968||Tatiana Ralston, Poole||1981||Karen Moore, Southsea||1994||Sue Foster, W Bromwich|
|1956||Audrey Windows, London||1969||Barbara Ponsford||1982||Vicky Ellis, Little Sutton||1995||Sherene Fogg, Manchester|
|1957||Jean Nunneley, Uxbridge||1970||Maggie Brown, Bristol||1983||Diana Brookes, Liverpool||1996||Karen Smith|
|1958||Mary Batty, Hartlepool||1971||Caroline Holmes, Wallasey||1984||Lianne Gray, Cardiff||1997||Nicky Seddon, Sunderland|
In 1997 the competition was renamed 'The Lady In Red' and competitors appeared in both Day Wear and Evening Wear. The change was to conform to the corporate colour of the new sponsor 'Strongbow Cider'.
After the 1997 Final, Butlin's discontinued the competition.
Click on each image below for a larger view