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Holiday Princess History Back

Information & article kindly submitted by Ron Stanway - General Manager, Entertainment & Promotions for the Butlin Group 1974 to 1990 and Competition Producer 1968 to 1990

Miss Diana Brookes from Liverpool, 1983 Winner Holiday Princess 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.

1988 Winner of Globe and Laurel - Miss Sara Whitehead from LeedsThese 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

Lianne Gray, 1984 winner
Lianne Gray, 1984 Winner, with Ron Stanway
Finalists in London
Finalists in London
Area finalists in Ipswich
Area finalists in Ipswich
Contestant Ruby Ayes
Contestant Ruby Ayes
Pamela Bramah, 1946 winner
Pamela Bramah, 1946 winner
Competitors at the Ford Motor Works
Competitors at the Ford Motor Works