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Marian Kneale Remembers Her Days as a Redcoat in 1970 & 1971 Back

Hello - I am Marian Kneale formerly Marian Gillbanks. I was a Redcoat at Barry Island during summer 1970 and 1971, and worked as Secretary to the Entertainments Manager, Roger Billington for both of those seasons. I was known as "Redcoat Kiwi" to the campers.

I have great memories of my two summers there, which began with the painting of the office I shared with John Wilson who was Deputy Ents Mgr. We painted one or two of the walls a lovely dark purple, one of the few colours of paint available at the time!

I remember earning 6 pounds a week, and spending most of it on a nice meal in Cardiff on my day off!

Roger and his wife, Maggie, and John were fun to work with.

One of my "jobs" was to sing in the Pig and Whistle bar on a sort of monorail which ran around the ceiling. Maggie Billington or another Redcoat and I did this in the evenings. I remember having to put rubber bands around our shoes and feet to make sure they didnt fall on to the heads of the audience below.

I also recall the midnight cabarets when we had some "quite famous" guests, such as Matt Monroe and Diana Dors. (Wasn't it Diana Dors who objected strongly to being called "Petal", Roger?)

All this is a long time ago! and I am now a grandmother, and have been back living in New Zealand since 1973, having made one family trip back to the UK in 1995.

I have enjoyed reading about the camp and Butlins generally on the website. My interest was re-ignited on receiving a cutting from the Daily Telegraph with an item about Butlins holiday camps and in that there was a mention of Roger Billington's research into its history etc.

Kind regards.
Marian Kneale (nee Gillbanks)

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