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Butlins Obituaries Back

Thanks to Ron Stanway (Former General Manager, Entertainment & Promotions for the Butlin Group) for providing the idea & provision of the initial information. Thanks also to various other people for providing corrections & updates to the information.

Needless to say that, when a company has had as many people work for it as Butlins has over the years, then, some of them will sadly no longer be with us. This page is designed to remember these people. If you wish to share your condolences and happy memories of working with any of these people or if you have some more names and details to add to the list then please send us an e-mail. It is envisaged that this list will possibly grow to a "Where are they now?" style list so if you have any further details to add then please do get in touch.

Sir William Butlin - 29th September 1899 to 12th June 1980

Click here to view our page on the early life of Bully Butlin & here to see our tribute to Sir Billy

Lady Sheila Butlin - died 30th January 2016, aged 89

Thanks to the Jersey Evening Post, who have given kind permission for the following article, taken from their newspaper, to be reproduced.

Lady Butlin Jersey Evening Post Article

Robert "Bobbie" Butlin - 30th April 1934 to 31st December 2008

Robert Butlin

Funeral held at Golders Green Crematorium on Friday 9th January 2009

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Bobby was born at Tiverton Devon on 30 April 1934 and at the tender age of five was sent to pre-prep school at Wooten-Under-Edge. He later attended Stowe School, Buckingham, where he excelled at a number of sports, representing the school at hockey and rugby. He first joined Butlins as a Redcoat during his school holidays in 1951. In 1952 he became eligible for National Service and served in the Army Catering Corps with the rank of second lieutenant. As an officer cadet during his training he was awarded the Sword of Honour. His career with Butlins began on his demob from the forces, in August 1954, when he became assistant stores manager at Ayr. He became a director of the company in 1960 and by 1972 took over the management of Butlins as managing director and he remained as MD after the takeover by Rank. Many improvements were made during this time, not the least being the transition to self catering, and the resultant saving of 25% in labour costs. He also took the brave decision to stop 'Block Teenage Bookings.' The son of Sir Billy proved himself to be a tower of strength before retiring from the company in 1984.

Sleep well Mr Robert. R.I.P"

Norman Bradford - 8th September 1909 to 12th May 1983

Norman Bradford

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"It's remarkable how all of us can, unintentionally, be guilty of forgetfulness and neglect. The name of Norman Bradford should be entered in Butlin's Memories with the same esteem, honour and respect that we afford Sir Billy and Robert Butlin.

It is a well known fact, carved forever into the history of Butlin's, that Norman Bradford was the very first Butlin Redcoat. During the first week of Skegness opening in 1936, Norman, "Because of his jovial, friendly manner," was told by Sir Billy, to liven the campers up a bit! Norman did this with enormous success and, on seeing this result, Billy immediately picked ten friendly members of the camp staff, five men and five girls and the famous Butlin Redcoats were born!

The writer is proud to have known at least some of them - Norman, Frank Cusworth, Kay Bury and Billy Ditchfield. They were all still active in my early years with the company and would regale me with their wonderful "pioneer" stories.

It was Norman who wrote the first 'Standing Instructions to Redcoats', and every single Redcoat who followed, or will follow in his wake should use these as a guide.

Again, the passing of time makes it difficult to be precise, but we have, at least put this formidable man's name on record.

Thank you, God bless you and 'Goodnight Camper!'"

Thanks to Renee Bradford, Norman's widow, for providing the photo and the following details;

"The photo I have sent was given to me by Alan Titchmarsh when he hosted a special Antiques Roadshow at the Camp in early 2004 and he interviewed me about Norman and the redcoats. It was taken in 1936 (I was still a schoolgirl in London). I met Norman when I was posted as a Wren to H.M.S. Royal Arthur in late 1943 - we were married in 1945. After the war I was his secretary until the birth of our son Robin in 1951. Norman had continued as Entertainments Manager until 1947 when Basil Brown was appointed. He died in Skegness on 12 May 1983."

Ron Stanway - 18th August 1933 to 20th March 2018

Ron has been a huge help to Butlins Memories over the years, and a search of this website will reveal many of his Butlins photos and memories from his time with the company. It was Ron who first suggested the idea for this Obituaries page, and he very much deserves to be remembered towards the top of the list.

Thanks to Roger Billington for providing the following details & tribute;

"The Ocean of life delivers someone very special in the mist of time. A gentleman, a man of great character, a man you would want on your side, a true Brit with a memory second to none. If you desperately needed help at any time, Ron was your man. He will be remembered on the Butlin's Roll of Honour for his loyalty, entrepreneurial skills, management and organisational flair. The list of his responsibilities at Butlin's was endless. He rose from a General Duty Redcoat to the General Manager - Entertainments, presenting most of Butlin's major National competitions, including the Glamorous Grandmother, Holiday Princess, Miss She, Lovely Legs; sporting events including the Pony Club Games and Horse Jumping plus many more prestigious attractions.

On his retirement Ron and his lovely wife, Sheila, eventually moved to Llandudno to fulfil their wish to return to Wales and all its glorious landscape.

We will all miss you Ron.

Au Revoir my friend.

Until we meet again.

Roger Billington"

Andy King - 6th November 1931 to 27th November 2013

Thanks to Andy's daughter, Tanya Wingell, for providing the following details & tribute;

Redcoat Andy King"My Dad, Andy King, was a Butlins Redcoat for 6 seasons in 1954-5-6 & again in 1961-2-3, and he said he reluctantly had to refuse the offer of a 7th season.

He didn't even know what a Redcoat was when he went to Butlins Skegness in late April/early May 1954, he had just finished as a touring Stage Manager for a Variety show with Phyllis Dixey, Hilda Baker, Morton Fraser Harmonic Boys, Comedian Stan Stennett etc etc. Touring all over England Wales Scotland and Norway.

Previously dad was the theatre Electrician at Lincoln Theatre Royal, also worked on Lighting at Chelsea Palace, and Golders Green Hippodrome in the 50's.

A day after the tour ended he went into town for a pint in his local theatre pub in Lincoln, where he met his friend who he worked with at Lincoln Theatre Royal previously, his friend Johnny Sharpe worked at Butlins Skegness as Stage Manager of the Empire theatre, he told Andy there was a vacancy for a Stage Manager for the Playhouse theatre and said when he gets back to Skegness that night he would mention him to the Entertainment Manager, which he did and John phoned him same night to say Mr "M" Frank Mansell the Ent: Manager said the job was his (even without an interview) and to report at Skegness Camp as early as possible.

When Andy got to the camp and booked in Mr "M" Frank Mansell was waiting for him and said 'come with me as I hear you can work a Lighting Board we are going to the Butlin Theatre' (it became the Gaiety in 1955) as the operator at the time, a Pete Miller, had been promoted to Ass. Camp Maintenance Manager, the Revue shows and other shows had already been lit so all Andy had to do was operate the Strand Grand Master Lighting Board. After a couple of weeks Mr "M" Frank Mansell asked Andy to his office and told him he had too much time on his hands as he only worked on shows at night, so he told Andy he would like him to do full Redcoat duties and just operate the Lighting Board for the shows.

Later that year, 1954, West End shows were staged in the Butlin Theatre (for the last time) and they were open to the paying public. Campers received a concession on these very professional shows like Paint Your Wagon, Oklahoma, Desert Song, Zip Goes a Million etc etc and top class artists for Sunday night Variety with Vic Oliver, Jimmy Wheeler, etc, etc

Andy thought all Redcoats did was walk around the Camp sunning themselves having photos taken and writing autographs, little did he know just how hard the Redcoats worked, But he was soon to find out.

Andy did ALL the Redcoat duties all the other Reds did and maybe more as he says he also Refereed the Pro Wrestling now and again, as well as seconding, and also standing in for the House Captains in doing the Speil on their days off and spinning for the Campagne at night, Andy enjoyed seeing the little beavers happy when he did "Hunt The Outlaw" (a few years before Hunt the Pirate), being thrown in the Pool most weeks.

The only duty Andy didn't do was Compere, as the Ass. Entertainment Managers did that in the 50's and early 60's, like Likeable Ken Hopson, Chris Kenny, also Dizzie Mansell, Andy got on well with them all.

Andy worked with one or two Redcoats who made it Big, like Dave Allen, (Dave O'mahoney) Skegness 1955-6, Freddie (Parrot Face) Davies 1961, later to be a good friend.

In 1962 "Rory Storm and the Hurricanes" a fantastic talented Group joined the Skegness Entertainment Team, and had Richard Starkey, later known as Beatles Drummer Ringo Starr as their drummer, Andy was called over the Radio Butlins Tannoy to report to the Gaiety Theatre, (he was seconding the wrestling at the time). When he got to the theatre, Ringo wanted to tape Skin Deep on the drums as he was performing it in their weekly show that night, as the Ass. Ent. Manager who was on duty for the rehearsal didn't know how to set it up and the Stage manager was on day off he thought he would Tannoy Andy, and when it was played it back in the dressing room it didn't sound too good so Ringo threw it in the bin. If Andy had known Ringo was going to be so famous he would have taken it out of the bin and maybe it would have been worth a few bob today.

Andy enjoyed ALL Redcoat duties organising Tournaments, Snooker, Darts, Tennis, Football, Table tennis, Swimming, and many more, Competitions, shows, like Holiday Princess Competition, Knobbly Knees, Miss Chubby Charming and Cheerful Competition, Miss "She", etc, etc, all Redcoats couldn't escape doing Bingo duties, everyone had to do a few hours of that every week, the "only" Redcoat duty he didn't like was selling car Raffle tickets to Campers at meal times.

Dad met my late mum Anne at Butlins Skegness in 1961 and were married in 1963. Mum was from London, an hairdresser, she was on holiday, and thanks to Sir Billy Butlin (he changed many lives), I was one of 4 daughters (Tanya, Carole, Sue and Anne) and 7 Grandchildren (Andrew, Lindsey, Dean, Rochelle, Isabel, Sophie and Great grandson Anthony).

Andy was very lucky to have been a Redcoat under Mr "M" Frank Mansell, he made excellent dedicated Redcoats, he was very firm but fair, in Andy's last season when he told him he wouldn't be there for the 1963 season, owing to now having an 8 month child Carole, he (Mr "M" Frank Mansell) organised a Caravan in Walls lane opposite the Gaiety theatre at no cost to him, so Dad could do another season, so Mum and my sister Carole had a pass to come and go into the Camp whenever they pleased, Dad slept in the caravan at night and ate with the Campers.

When the shows were on in the Gaiety Theatre Andy had to do a little swanning before the shows and go backstage to operate the Strand Grand Master Lighting Board. It could be for one, two or even three shows a night, then for a meal in the Queens restaurant, then Ballroom Duties in one of the three Ballrooms, then the much loved by Redcoats and Campers "Goodnight Campers". Dad enjoyed every moment at Butlins, one never got bored, always a variety of Duties, time seemed to fly, he was so proud to have been a Butlins Redcoat and wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Dad met so many good friends at Butlins Skegness, he told me, like Redcoats Bob Daley (Brisbane), Joyce Pay (Stewart) now living in Somerset, Ken Wood turned Pro after Butlins as a Ventriloquist (Stroud), Doreen Shaw (Barker) from Bolton, Lancs, and her friend Patricia Moorhouse, Freddie Davies the Redcoat who made it also a good friend of Dad and Doreen, Richard "Prof" Gooch (New Zealand), Joe Boyle (Spain), last but not least Liz Smith (Cannock) and Julie Stallard (Humphrey) (Florida), both were Redcoat/Revue Dancers. Dad was still emailing ALL of his friends mentioned in 2013.

Dad said he mustn't forget all the wonderful friends he made at the Reunions mainly at Scarborough, like caring Valda, Rocky and Marty, Sam, Chrissie, Mandy, Eileen, Derek, Leon, Stueart, Frank, Maureen, Hilary, Frank, Derek, Marion, Oggie, Jan, Val, Mike Onions, caring Dee and Alex, Dave Moreen etc etc"

A number of photos from Andy's years as a Redcoat can be found here

Colin 'Rocky' Mason - 14th October 1931 to 22nd November 2015

Thanks to Rocky's wife, Marty, and also to former General Manager, Entertainment & Promotions for Butlin's Ltd, Ron Stanway, for providing the details and tributes which follow. Rocky has been a big help to Butlins Memories in recent years, writing a lot of the tributes which feature on this page, so it seemed appropriate that his own tributes should feature towards the top of the page. The first tribute, from Marty, gives the history behind the name Rocky & includes a brief history of his life before Butlin's.

"My Rock

Rocky MasonColin Mason, born in October 1931 in the Yorkshire City of Bradford, enjoyed a quite normal childhood until the outbreak of WW2 in 1939. During those years Colin, and his brother Keith, were sent away to the Lynton Boys Camp near Bradford and he hated every minute of it. Being quite small in build at the time he was bullied quite a lot and even at his young age, the first lessons in boxing were given to him to enable him to look after himself.

This soon paid off and after a few scraps the bullying soon stopped. Despite this he still hated the camp and one day he and his brother slipped away and headed for home. It took best part of 3 days to reach Bradford, sleeping rough under hedges, but they did it. Remarkably, they were never reported missing so their parents were totally unaware that they had left. Needless to say, they never went back.

After WW2 had ended Colin, not forgetting those childhood fights, decided with his Dads consent and support that at 12 years of age he should take up the sport. He took lessons and trained at the Lou Marks Gym and during his brief amateur boxing career he had 89 fights and lost only 3.

National Service followed and he joined the RAF and achieved the rank of Corporal. Like the earlier Boys Camp he hated the RAF too. In 1956 at the age of 24 he applied to Butlin's for the job as a Redcoat Boxing Instructor and was sent to Filey for the season. He told me in all sincerity that when he arrived there and saw all the coloured lights, he thought he had died and gone to heaven. So different from the gloomy City of Bradford as it was in those days. The Boxing Instructor idea didn't last long as there was too much going on outside the Stadium building where the boxing ring was situated. He was quite happy to do all the duties a Redcoat did and even took part in some of the shows. He did well and even had his own show called "Rendezvous With Rocky". Eventually he was promoted to Assistant Entertainment Manager then later, the big jump when he became an Entertainment Manager.

So then, the Butlin career was underway – summer seasons at first then some winters at the Hotels were offered and gratefully accepted. Colin Mason or 'Rocky' as he was by now well known, spent his career at Butlin's either whole summer seasons at the camps and/or considerable time at some of the hotels during the winter.

In 1963 I went on holiday to Butlin's at Minehead and whilst there won the weekly heats of both 'Holiday Princess' and 'Miss She'. The semi-finals of these were held at the Margate Hotels during the winter months and this is where I met Rocky after which he arranged a job for me at Pwllheli working for Philips Electrical Ltd., as a Concessionaire in the largest camp shop where my work there was to demonstrate Philishave Electric Razors.

We were married in Ramsgate in 1966 and our daughter Samantha, (Sammy) was born in Bognor Regis on 19th February 1968. All went well for many years – we had returned to Filey after our wedding and were firmly established there. The Company had been taken over by the Rank Organisation and later came the bombshell when they chose to close down the Filey camp. We had been on holiday in Tenerife and upon our return found among the post, a letter advising us that Rocky had been made redundant. He then said "and the good news is I'm taking you back to your home town of Bristol."

We have lived in Bristol ever since and it was from here that Colin 'Rocky' Mason was taken to the church for the Funeral Service.

Rocky's funeral was perfect. A gorgeous sunny day and an amazing number of friends, family and colleagues, in total numbering over 200 were there many wearing Red & Whites or at least men in red ties and ladies with red scarfs or something similarly appropriate. The floral tributes outside the church entrance were a joy to behold with one enormous arrangement, in flowers, of a Redcoat Jacket with blue edging. They came from near and far, the flowers and the mourners and I'm so very grateful to each and everyone of them. A special thank you for the £327 raised which has been donated to St Peter's Hospice where Rocky spent the last days of his life. The Vicar who conducted the service was the son of the Rev. Cliff Malkinson the Camp Padre at Skegness during Rocky's time there.

In addition to family, Rocky's spectacular wake included – ex redcoats, musicians, cabaret stars plus many colleagues from the Entertainment and other departments who had travelled from, Liverpool, London, Blackpool, Devon, Ireland, N.Yorkshire and Spain. There was no shortage of musical instruments and all the old songs were sung many times. Needless to say there was a fitting finish with Auld Lang Syne and Goodnight Campers.

Thank you all so very very much.

A perfect send off to a much loved man
Sleep well my love, Marty."

Ron's tribute to Rocky;

"Given the type of employment Rocky and I had undertaken at Butlin's we were not to meet until the Autumn of 1961 when we were both transferred from our respective Camps to the Ocean Hotel, Brighton for the winter.

Rocky had over his years with the Company developed an interest in all forms of entertainment and although not giving the impression of wanting to tread the boards, he certainly participated in many Redcoat Shows.

It soon became obvious to us all that 'Rocky' was a showman. His role as Chairman of the Old Tyme Music Hall, his late night show "Rendezvous with Rocky" and his personalised rendition of "A Deck of Cards" made him a favourite with Butlin Campers.

He left the Ocean Hotel in the Spring of 1962 and returned to Filey to resume his role as Assistant Entertainment Manager. I returned to Pwllheli in a similar capacity. In 1963 following a change of Entertainemnt Managers we found ourselves working together as Assistant Managers at Pwllheli, but after only three weeks into the season I was transferred to Filey.

We were not to meet up again until 1970 by which time we were both married and took advantage of the sale of two properties in Saltdean near the Ocean Hotel. Some years earlier as the popularity of the Hotels had increased in guest numbers, Butlin's had purchased two houses locally for use as staff dormitories. Rocky and Marty bought one and Sheila and I bought the other. As both Rocky and I were keen DIY enthusiasts we enjoyed comparing notes on the enormous task we had undertaken.

During those years in our Saltdean homes Rocky was the Entertainment Manager at the Ocean Hotel and I commuted daily to Head Office in London. It was not long before the call of the camps was too much to ignore and Rocky and Marty sold their home in Saltdean and moved to Skegness. Through the following years we would only meet at conferences or whenever I visited his site which was about 4 times every season.

Over the years we have kept in touch, even after we had both left the Company. Rocky was the one who went the extra mile to keep in touch with staff who had worked for him and professional cabaret artistes who had appeared at the camp and it was no surprise that over 200 mourners attended his funeral. They came from near and far and to name just a few; Kenny & Caron Cantor, Terry & Averil Herbert, Alan Heyward, Sacha van Weenan, Shaun Glenright. Ann Wilkinson, Julie Richardson, Ray Martin, Colin Clarke, Sharon & Nick Staples-Butler, John & Kay Bennett, Liam Kelly, Mike Burton, Steve & Billy Richardson, Frankie Whittle, Paul Rumke.

So, I say goodbye to my fourth old Butlin colleague this month.
Rocky, we have been comparing our hospital appointments for some months now
but finally you are now out of pain.
You're 'Deck of Cards' has been shuffled for the last time.

Close the 'tabs'!

Ron & Sheila Stanway."

(Tributes for the other three colleagues referred to by Ron can be found by following these links - Sheila Just, Gerry Maxin & Valerie (Vicky) Knibbs.)

Ron Hayter - 3rd October 1913 to 29th September 1974

Click on the image for a larger view

Ron Hayter

Thanks to Ron Stanway, Ron Hayter's Assistant General Manager 1968/1974, for providing the following details & tribute;

"Joining Butlin's shortly after WW2, Ron was made Entertainment Manager of the camp at Clacton - on - Sea for the 1949 season. He spent four years at Clacton, moving to Pwllheli for the 1953 season. It is believed he worked in Head Office during the years 1954/5 before returning to Pwllheli for the 1956/7 seasons.

After a spell in Head Office he held a newly created position in the late 50's as General Manager of a new camp at Bognor Regis which opened in 1960. He completed one season in this capacity, returning to the Entertainments Dept at Head Office the following year.

It was only when I was given winter work in Head Office, Oxford Street, London, ('63/'65) working in the Winter Weekends Booking Office, that I really got to know Ron Hayter. Prior to this our paths had rarely crossed. In July 1966 I was at the new camp on Barry Island when, due to the illness of Larry Knight, Entertainment Manager at Clacton, I was transferred to replace him as E.M. During this time Ron H was invaluable in helping me to adapt to my first position as Ents. Mngr.

Two years later (1968) now in my second year as E.M at Pwllheli, during a routine visit from Ron H he took me aside and invited me to become his Assistant at Head Office. At the time the Department was administered by two joint General Managers, under the direction of Colonel Basil Brown, Director of Entertainment. Frank Mansell was G.M. for the Theatrical and Musical requirements at all the camps and Ron Hayter was responsible for Redcoat Recruitment, Sports Equipment, Bingo, Filmed Horse Racing, Donkey Derbys, Butlin Sponsorship of Show Jumping and Pony Club Mounted Games and in conjunction with the Marketing Dept. he organised the semi finals of the major beauty competitions. I became a part of these responsibilities where we worked extremely well together and during which time a strong friendship was forged.

I was fortunate, that "Ron Hayter allowed me to work with him rather than for him" I said to Colonel Brown in response to his complement on a particular job we had done together. It was years later in 1974 that Ron Hayter was taken ill and became unable to work during the season. Thanks to his mentoring I was able to carry out all his responsibilities and was later reminded by Colonel Brown of my earlier words.

Ronald Hayter died on Sunday 28th September 1974 ironically the day after the last camp had closed for the season. Many have said that he deliberately delayed his departure until the season had been successfully completed.

My grateful thanks go to you Ron for your help, advice, encouragement and friendship over the many years we worked together. May he rest in peace.
From the other half of Butlin's, Two Ronnies."

Anne Margaret Elizabeth Hayter - 1911 to 20th April 2000

Thanks to Shirley Lewis who became Senior Nursery Matron for the Butlin Group & Ron Stanway who was Asst. General Manager, Entertainment to Ron Hayter for providing the following details & tribute;

The picture shows Anne with some of 'her boys' at a Glamorous Grandmother Final at Minehead c1988. Pictured (left to right) are Tony Crosby, Alan Ridgway, Ron Stanway, Anne, Paul Rumke, Mike Rumke, 'Red' Bridgen.

Anne Hayter"Anne, and her husband Ron, joined Butlin's within a few weeks of each other with Ron joining the Entertainment Dept. and Anne taking on a multitude of tasks for Bill Butlin who, in 1946 asked her to prepare a special facility for babies and the very young.

Anne was a great thinker and given a piece of paper and a pencil would plot and plan almost any task. Butlin's was gaining in popularity following the hostilities of WW2 and more and more families were enjoying the carefree style of the camps. So it came about that Anne took on this task to accommodate the under 2yrs, enabling mothers to enjoy their holiday.

She presented Bill Butlin with plans for a Nursery facility for the Clacton camp which was to open in 1947. Delighted with her ideas her plans were put into effect. As more and more thought was given to her plan it was agreed to include a crèche, an infants' feeding room, where the babies could be fed by their mother, put to sleep or play in the Nursery, whilst mother joined her husband for their meal in the main Dining Room. With the addition of a bottle preparation room, provision was made for various baby foods, orange juice and cod liver oil. The success of the new facility at Clacton prompted Billy Butlin to build Nurseries at Skegness and Filey with the age group now increased to under 5yrs. In 1948, with only 5 camps open, the Nurseries catered for 2,281 under 2yrs, in 1950 it had risen to 5,327 and with the new camps at Bognor and Minehead, in 1965, there were 11,000 catered for. The facilities now included pram and pushchair hire and a nappy laundry.

An evening Baby Crying service was added to the daytime nursery, allowing parents to register their babies/small children with the Nursery Nurse, giving the chalet number and details of their evening entertainment venues. Nursery nurses patrolled the chalet lines listening for babies crying upon which, the chalet number would be relayed to the appropriate venue.

In the theatre there were special Baby Crying Boards at the side of the stage where the relevant chalet number would be displayed.

At the launch of the Nursery, the staff were fitted with smart blue dresses and warm capes for the evening patrol. Anne Hayter was one of the first Matrons appointed when working on the same camp as husband Ron who was Entertainment Manager.

Anne's next brainwave was to plan for the care of older children. This was the birth of the Butlin Beaver Club formed for children 6 to under 9 and the 913 club for the 9 to under 14's.

When their days on the camps came to an end, Ron Hayter became full time at Head Office but Anne left the Company to open an antique shop in Kent. Anne had a good eye for a bargain and soon became well established.

Years later the Entertainments Dept. decided to gather all their Redcoat uniforms from all sites and create a central store where necessary repairs, cleaning and scrapping, could be carried out. Following the Redcoat Recruitment for the new season, Entertainment Managers submitted their uniform requirements to the Central Store located at the Butlin's Margate Hotels complex. As she lived nearby, Anne Hayter became Wardrobe Mistress, responsible for sorting, logging, ordering and despatching. This operation lasted a few years c.1968/70 after which it was decided to return the responsibility back to the Main Stores at the camps/hotels. This was Anne's last work for Butlin's.

In 1972 Anne and Ron bought Church Cottage in Puriton, Somerset in preparation for their retirement but used it only occasionally during this time. Ron never did reach his retirement, he died in September 1974.

Anne & Ron are interred together in a grave the other side of what was their garden wall.

Anne's efforts, on behalf of many thousands of babies, children and grateful parents, were appreciated then and for many years afterwards.

Rest in peace Anne you are now very much wiser than any of us.

From Shirley Lewis on behalf of all the Nursery Matrons & Nurses and Ron Stanway on behalf of the Entertainment Dept."

Barry Graham - died 1987

Redcoat 1966 to 1970 Pwllheli

Dave Butler - 1936 to 1996

Click on the image for a larger view

Dave Butler

Thanks to Rocky Mason & Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tributes;

"Dave Butler joined the company as a Redcoat at Pwllheli in 1960 and very soon after became established as professional comedian. In subsequent years he was the principal comic in the Revue Shows on the camps before starring in the popular TV series "The Comedians" which culminated in a weeks run at the famous London Palladium. Later in his career, Dave performed on cruise ships touring the world where his superb delivery in that soft Bristol accent endeared him to passengers.

Dave was working on the cruise ship Black Prince, sailing near Tenerife when his illness worsend and he was flown back to Britain.

He died of cancer some days later on Christmas Day 1996. He was accompanied back to Britain by his daughter Kyle who was working alongside him on the ship. Christine his wife, who was working on another cruise ship flew home from Casablanca.

Dave's other daughter, Danielle aged 25 at the time, had recently finished working at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre and said "her father had suffered stomach cancer for a while but his condition had deteriorated suddenly". She added "It is going to be very difficult for us, we were such a close team. We had a lot of respect for what dad had achieved"

Aged 58, Dave had appeared no less than 26 times in the Comedians TV Show between 1971 & 1974 alongside Bernard Manning and Tom O'Connor and the highlight of his career was an appearance before the Queen at the 1972 Royal Variety Performance.

The picture (above) shows Dave in the flat cap, at Pwllheli in 1960 with fellow Redcoats, Derek Laurence, Duncan Menzies, Don Johnson, Andy ?, and Brian Coxhead.

Rest in peace, Dave"

Patrick "Paddy" Jesson - 1918 to 1999

Redcoat Entertainer from 1954 to 1987

May "Irish" Jesson - 1920 to November 2008

Redcoat Entertainer from 1954 to 1987

"Paddy" and "Irish" worked professionally as Jesson & Farrelly

Thanks to Kennie Jones who had this to say about Paddy & May; "They were both 2 incredible characters, greatly missed by everyone."

Thanks to Kennie for supplying the following photos of Patrick & May. Click on each image for a larger view.

Patrick & May Jesson     May Jesson     May Jesson     Patrick & May Jesson     May Jesson

Kenneth Idle - 1926 to 2001

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

"Ken joined Butlin's as a Redcoat Entertainer and the lead member of The Verdi Trio. His wife, Mavis played accordion, Dave Sheard was on drums and Ken, the double bass. Ken later became a popular and well liked Entertainment Manager at Butlin's and served in this position at Brighton in 1963/1965/1967; Ayr in 1968 and Filey 1969. Ken's cheerful, bubbly personality endeared him to all his colleagues in the Entertainment Dept.

Rest in peace old friend."

Jimmy Noon M.B.E.- died 25th August 2004

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following photo of Jimmy, click on the image for a larger view.

Jimmy Noon M.B.E.

Redcoat Entertainer, Accordionist, Organist, Piano Player and Musical Director

Thanks to Jimmy's son Mitchell for providing the following tribute;

"Jimmy Noon died on Wednesday 25th August 2004, aged 89 years. He made his first performance aged 4, and retired from music aged 80. He became well known as one half of the Capaldi Brothers - accordionists - with Carmino Capaldi. He and his brother Johnny then became the Noon Brothers and appeared on radio in the 1940's. The war curtailed Jim's radio career, but he was drafted into Stars in Battle Dress and spent the war armed only with his accordion under the command of Captain Jack Hawkins. At the end of the war Jimmy and Johnny were awarded the MBE for their war-time entertaining. But they never collected it because there was only one medal for two brothers! Jimmy then returned to Variety and toured the country, combining his stage act with the roll of Musical Director, he met his wife Lynda who was training in Ballet, but soon became the company soubrette. They later became Redcoats in 1957 and Jimmy spent over 40 years with Butlin's, there he met and influenced countless rising stars. He said that when he was born his Mother had been told he would be lucky in life, and he was. He died very peacefully. He leaves his wife Lynda, and his son Mitch, his daughter-in-law Angie, and grandsons Tom & Jo."

Miss Jackie Brown - died 30th March 1999

Redcoat at the Hotels and later became Entertainment Manager at Scarborough

Donald Scott-Reid - 1923 to 1995

PRO & Press Officer at Bognor

Keith Perron - died December 1997

Keith is included in the following photos with the group photo on the right also including Brett Cresswell. Click on each image for a larger view.

Keith Perron     Keith Perron

Thanks to Butlins Memories Forum member "CHR" for providing this tribute;

"Keith Perron from Devon who was a Redcoat at Minehead from 1978 progressing through to their (extrememly talented) video production man, assistant entertainments manager, and press officer, ending his Butlins career in the caravan sales department.

Sadly Keith died in his mid 40's in December of 1997. At his funeral his old friends reunited and wore Red & Whites for the last time to give him a Redcoat guard of honour. In 1998 old friends Mick Armitage and Sid Sims organised a reunion at Minehead to be held in his honour in order to raise funds to buy a brain scanner for the Plymouth hospital where he died of head injuries following a fall.

Keith was simply unforgettable, he had a unique sense of humour coupled with a razor sharp intellect and individual personal style. He used to say he only loved 3 things: His mum, cricket and Rod Stewart. He is much missed."

Thanks to Diana for providing the following tribute;

"I was delighted to locate this website as part of research for a book I want to create but so very sad to read that Keith Perrin who I worked with at Minehead 1984 had died suddenly.

I worked at Minehead as a Press Photographer and also lived a few doors up from Keith. We often had to attend the same events and competitions as at this time he was a video camerman alongside his assistant Terry Hunt. What a pair of wind up merchants. Keith would often in his dead pan manner give me incorrect information about competitions etc. I had never met anybody like him. He took absolute delight in being a professional wind-up. He probably played his Rod Stewart records so loud to cover his hysterical laughter in his chalet. He absolutely loved Butlins and it did not surprise me that he spent many years working there. I remember when the Royal Marines visited he went up in the Wessex helicopter and told me that he was going home to his parents for the weekend and they they dropped him at his house. A likely story I thought, but with Keith you never knew! I am very sorry to hear that his life was so short, he certainly lived it to the full."

Thanks to Kennie Jones for providing the following tribute;

"Here are a few photos (below) for my close friend, the late Keith Perron. I was one of the pallbearers at his funeral in my redcoat, also with Sid Simms, Paul Beckett, George Hamnett, Micky Armitage & Craig Holman. Keith was a very funny dry witted character who always made me laugh and as mentioned in the write up above, you had to understand his sense of humour."

Brett Cresswell - 1930 to 14th January 1997

Redcoat later Entertainment Manager then Assistant to the General Manager Entertainments for the group

Brenda Cresswell (nee Maguire) - 1938 to 19th March 1997

Redcoat Radio Butlin Supervisor, then joined Accommodation Department Head Office

Brett & Brenda are buried together in the grave pictured below at St Mary's Churchyard, Felpham, Bognor Regis, click image for a larger view

Brett & Brenda Cresswell's Grave

Thanks to Leslie Melville for proving this tribute to both Brett & Brenda;

"Sad to see Brett & Brenda's grave in the Obituaries. I knew them both.

Brett when he had a magic act with Bobby Traynor (They were previously both assistants in the ealy 1950's to 'Ali Bey - The Great Arabian Wizard'), and then of course at Butlins. Brett went on to become Ents. Manager at Pwllheli etc.

I also worked with Bobby's wife, Anna at the Cliftonville hotels.

Brenda McGuire, a beautiful statuesque blonde, was Chief Radio Butlin Announcer at Bognor Regis in 1961 (I think).

Both died far too young."

Ted Rogers - 20th July 1935 to 2nd May 2001

The photo shows Ted judging a Glamorous Grandmother Final, click for a larger view.

Ted Rogers

Redcoat at the Ocean Hotel then became top professional comedian and TV Games Show host

Thanks to Rocky Mason & Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

"Ted joined Butlin's as a Redcoat in 1957 and worked at the Ocean Hotel, Brighton. He was an avid Danny Kaye fan and did a most lifelike impression of his idol. The following year Sir Billy Butlin personally invited Ted to join the Resident Revue Company for the season at Filey. After a few years his act turned more to straight comedy and then came TV Game Shows culminating in the enormously popular "3-2-1" with his side kick "Dusty Bin" and assisted by Mike Newman, another ex Butlin entertainer. During these years he did many shows for Butlin's in their "late Night Cabaret" and was always a 'sell-out'. Ron Stanway, organiser of the Butlin beauty competition Finals, used Ted both as a judge and compere on several occasions and he was extremely popular with competitors and audience alike. He was a Pro's Pro, loved by musicians, stage crew and Redcoats alike!

Keep 'em laughing Ted. You were one of the best.

Rest in peace Ted.
From: Rocky Mason, Ron Stanway and all the lads in Entertainments at Butlin's.

Tom "Knocker" White - 14th August 1921 to 16th October 2007

Redcoat & Deputy Entertainment Manager, Entertainments Dept

George Outram - 1920 to November 2008

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"George was born in Barking, Essex, and from childhood always excelled in sports. Joining the Army in 1939 he became a member of the Army Physical Training Corps (A.P.T.C.), later becoming a Sergeant P.T.I.

After his demob his love of sports drew him to Butlin's, and he joined as a Redcoat in 1947, very soon becoming a House Captain and then Chief Sports Organizer.

He was a member of the original Butlin Square Dance team, the caller was Wally Goodman and the team comprised of Kay Berry, Maggie Lemonde, Betty Blaxall, Shane Lavery, 'Knocker' White, Frank Brady and Al Harris.

Georgie did a great slapstick impression of Norman Wisdom, and performed it at the Royal Albert Hall Re-Unions. After meeting Redcoat Children's Aunty Glynis, they married in 1957, the honeymoon was spent at Butlin's Metropole Hotel, Blackpool.

As an Assistant Manager at Filey, in the late fifties, he boxed a number of exhibitions with Rocky Mason and Harry Griver. Glynis told us that just before he passed away, he was thrilled and delighted to receive telephone calls from "Redcoats From The Past" who had managed to locate him, they included Gerry Maxim, Ron Stanway, Dee Dee Pigott and Rocky Mason.....Rest in peace."

Russ Hamilton - 19th January 1932 to 11th October 2008

The photo shows Russ Hamilton pictured outside his chalet at Clacton 1957 with Ron Stanway and Redcoat girls Tulah and Jan, click for a larger view.

Russ Hamilton

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

"Born as Ronald Hulme in Everton, Liverpool he was one of the first singer-songwriters of pop music and he was the first Liverpool artist to hit the United States music scene with his song "Rainbow" several years before the Beetles.

Working as a Redcoat at the Metropole Hotel, Blackpool, as a childrens entertainer, he used to sit for hours strumming his guitar and singing his enormous repertoire of songs written by himself. The kids loved it and all the parents too. Early in 1957 he recorded the songs "We Will Make Love" and "Rainbow" which was on the flip side. He was then transferred to the Butlin's camp at Clacton-on-Sea where he was followed by an adoring public all singing 'We Will Make Love'. On his day off he would go into Clacton town calling at any shop that sold records and ask for a copy of the record just to hear the shop assistant say "I'm sorry Sir we're sold out".

As the record sales increased and with it his popularity, he was sent by Butlin's to tour the camps. His career blossomed and obviously his days at Butlin's came to an end as his record topped the charts both here and in America but, surprisingly the A side was the popular one in UK and the B side the more popular in America. This was a unique situation as each song sold over a million copies and both reached 'Gold' status.

Russ' next self-written song "Wedding Ring" soon reached the Top 20 and in 1960 he was invited to Nashville Tennessee where he signed for MGM Records. Numerous songs, all by his own hand followed with titles such as "Gonna Find Me a Bluebird", "Little One", "I Still Belong To You", "I Had A Dream" were all quite popular but never reached the top.

When his career waned he returned to Butlin's where he spent three happy years, 1966/7/8 as Entertainment Manager at the Metropole Hotel, Blackpool.

Thanks Russ, for all those wonderful songs and the memories, from your Butlin colleagues.

Rest in peace."

Bill Martin - 1928 to October 2006

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Before joining Butlin's Bill had been an established comedian performing in the name of 'Billy Vinden' on radio's "Mid Day Music Halls" and "Workers Playtime".

Bill joined the company as an Entertainment Manager at the Ocean Hotel, Brighton in 1960. In 1961 & 2 he was at Ayr then moved to Pwllheli for the seasons 1963 to 1966. Another move to Clacton on Sea for the 1967/8; then in 1970/1 he was E.M at Bognor. After the 1971 season he became Assistant to Frank Mansell, General Manager, Entertainment, (Theatres and Music division). He left Butlin's about 2 years later and became Chief Scribe for the Grand Order of Water Rats.

Rest in peace, Bill."

Cliff Coulson - died 2005

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

"It was in 1956 that Cliff Coulson joined the Redcoat staff at Clacton on Sea. As he was a semi-pro footballer at the time, having played for such teams as Bromsgrove Rovers, Worcester City and I seem to remember that he was, for a while, with Swindon Town, the end of this particular season coincided with the summer opening of the Butlin camps. Cliff therefore arrived at Clacton on the Monday of the first week and his first 'Detail' was to run the Billiards eliminations. As this was his first job at Butlin's I was detailed for this event too to ensure that he knew how to work out the byes etc. He and I became firm friends thereafter, probably due in no small measure to the fact that we were fairly close neighbours, he coming from Malvern and me from Birmingham.

With Cliff's sporting background he had no need of any instruction in working out byes and he soon became a most popular Redcoat and was quickly promoted to House Captain. He returned to Clacton for the 1957 season where he and I teamed up again and another new Redcoat that year, Kim Bennett, joined us and we became a trio of friends meeting up many times during the winter months also.

Cliff, who was a Draughtsman by trade, settled down into a proper job and our meetings thereafter became fewer. Some years later he married and eventually started his own manufacturing business based in Hinckley, Leicestershire. It was many years later (about 1995) when I was working temporarily in Leicestershire, I managed to locate him and called at his factory one day. It was shortly after this that Cliff sold his business and retired but sadly, his health declined and he was unable to enjoy many more years. In 2004 I heard that he was in a Mental Hospital in Leicestershire and I took a trip up there to find him – it was so distressing to see this once active man but amazingly he remembered me as I walked in the door.

Cliff, it was such a pleasure to know you – rest in peace my friend."

Kim Bennett - died September 2004

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

"During the summer season of 1956 Kim Bennett (real name Tom Whippey) was engaged as a vocalist in a touring show which covered the Butlin hotels at Margate and Brighton each week. Previously, Kim had worked for Ambrose and his Orchestra and his first and only record was a 78rpm on the Decca Label which could so easily have brought him stardom except for the fact that at about the same time, a group of Irish lads took the country by storm and they were 'The Batchelors.'

In 1957 Kim joined the Redcoat staff at Clacton on Sea where he was a very popular vocalist in shows around the camp. He only did the one season as a Redcoat and then joined a Music Publishing Company in London where his job was to push for new releases to be aired on the radio.

Kim and I, together with Cliff Coulson were inseparable at Clacton, and during the winter months too when we would meet up in London for a weekend. As the years rolled by and our get-togethers became less frequent Kim fell on rather hard times and lived in a retirement bungalow in Market Drayton. I always called to see him whenever I was travelling North and on many occasions he stayed with my wife and I at our home.

Kim Bennett had a lovely singing and speaking voice, in fact one was reminded of the resonant tones of Richard Burton.

Rest in peace old friend, we were good pals!"

Patrick Francis Reid - 13th February 1932 to 12th April 2008

Former Main Catering Superintendant then later Director of Main Catering and Retail Sales for the Butlin group

Click on the image for a larger view

Patrick Reid

Jack Allen - died 29th July 2009

Based in Head Office for many years, Jack was the Senior Catering Buyer for all the Butlin Main Centres, working under Pat Reid above.

Michael Deacon - died 2005

Former Chief Redcoat at Clacton 1966

Kenneth Frost - 1930 to 2005

Thanks to Johnny Ball, who was a Redcoat at Butlin's Pwllheli, with Ken Frost 1961/62, for providing the following details & tribute;

"Ken Frost was born in Wallasey and from an early age was singing in local clubs. At age 30 he became a Butlin Redcoat at Pwllheli and proved to be a very friendly and likeable chap and an immediate success in the Redcoat Show.

As a singer, he was a wonderful 'tune-smith' with the relaxed style reminiscent of Al Martino and Dick Haymes. Ken really only enjoyed the romantic ballads and these suited his personality very well. All the girls loved him very much indeed.

One fond memory I have of Ken was when he went wrong in his act in a Circus scene in the Redcaot Show and I was playing drums in the pit. He was singing that old tear jerker "The Clown Who Cried" The song tells the story of a clown who's new wife, on their wedding day, falls from the trapeze and is killed. The line he had to sing was "As from the sawdust ring my broken Rose was taken". But, on this one particular night he caught sight of me in the pit, got the lyric wrong and sang "As From the Broken Rose (now with panic in his eyes trying to correct it) They Took My Sawdust Bleeding". I collapsed over the drum kit and he finished his act convulsed – he couldn't see his way off stage for the tears in his eyes.

After Pwllheli, Ken moved to the Clacton on Sea camp and settled in the area. His singing kept him in demand all over Essex and Suffolk and he eventually married, made Clacton his permanent home and became father of a daughter.

Thanks for the lovely songs Ken and the warmth of your friendship. From your buddies: Johnny Ball, Ron Stanway, Alex McGowan, Dave Kessell."

Terry Davis - died April 2006

Redcoat at Filey c. 1958

Noel Hunter - died 1969

Former Entertainment Manager at Clacton on Sea 1954 to 1957

Stan Edwards - 10th December 1931 to 13th February 2009

Redcoat Entertainer at Clacton on Sea, seasons 1957/8/9.

Ron Stanway met Stan when he was a Redcoat at Clacton during the 1957 season. They only worked together for that one season as Ron was then moved to Pwllheli for 1958. Thanks to Ron for providing this tribute;

"Stan, I remember, was a Danny Kaye look-a-like and he did a very good cabaret act impersonating the great man. He completed three full seasons at Clacton and in 1958 was there with Roy Hudd and Cliff Richard.

It was during the 1959 season that he met Joan, a new Radio Butlin Announcer and it was love at first sight and they were married later that year.

Since the inroduction of Butlin Redcoat Reunions, Stan & Joan have been very good supporters and it was at the 2002 reunion at the Grand Hotel Scarborough, that I met up with Stan again after 45 years. We have kept in touch since, enjoying further reunions at Brighton and Scarborough.

Indeed, it was only in October last (2008) that Stan & I, together with other old Clacton redcoats from '56,7,8,9, all met up at Warners Littlecote Hotel, to celebrate the 50th Wedding anniversary of Bob & Sheila Just nee Mackenzie. Also there were Lee Parker nee Davies, Henri & Valerie Rouah nee Leopard.

Our thoughts are with Joan and family."

Patrick Cawley - died 2005

Click each image for a larger view

Skegness Redcoat Team 1963     Skegness Redcoats 1963

Former Redcoat at Skegness prior to moving to Pwllheli as Assistant Entertainment Manager in 1964. Patrick was laid to rest wearing his full Red & White uniform

Thanks to Colette Aspinall for providing this tribute;

"I met Patrick Cawley in 1964, He came to Pwllheli as one of the Assistant Managers to Bill Martin. (He and I clicked probably because we were both 'Southerners' everyone else seemed to be either from Midlands or North.)

1964 was Patrick's last season with Butlins, he had been at several camps before, I believe. I think he was at Skegness for more than one season. He showed me lots of old photos of him in Redcoat uniform when he was much younger. He and I stayed friends for 41 years until he died in 2005. Patrick worked for British Airways (mostly in USA ) for about 25 years after Butlins, in a sort of Customer Service role. Firstly New York I believe,and later at Los Angeles. Whenever Patrick was in London, we used to meet up, and he always talked about Butlins. We kept in touch by post or phone. After BA he worked for Royal Cruise Lines, and Later Saga on Cruise Ships. Again in a sort of 'Posh' Redcoat sort of role. He travelled all over the world and often brought me gifts from far flung places, and sent amazing postcards. He was a huge film fan, and during his time with BA he met some of his heroes. Stars who had been famous in the 50's. He had the largest collection of books from film and theatre I have ever seen, he also had loads of friends in the theatre. When in London he got to see all the top West End shows and the same on Broadway when in New York. He was a very popular and much loved friend to many. When He died I was allowed any of his books I wanted, many of them were autographed by film stars he met several times like Shelley Winters, Kirk Douglas, and Mary Martin etc. One time when I was in USA he took me to meet someone who was in the film South Pacific. After his death I suggested to Bernie, his partner that the books should be sold to a collector. After I had read the ones I had chosen I gave a few to the Cancer Research. I kept my favourites along with a few personal treasures and photos of him and I.

He and Bernie owned property in USA and UK. So summers were spent in the UK and winters in Palm Springs California. At one time they had a flat very near Kensington Palace. I met up with them often, in London. (I loved visiting Kensington, as that is where I was from.) I have Never known anyone who bought and sold property so many times and I always assumed that they made money that way, but the year he died, Patrick told me they never made a penny, in fact lost on almost every deal. They were just impulsive. Bernie now lives in Germany.

I don't know if any of the above is of interest to any of his old Redcoat chums, but he really loved working at Butlins. One thing you might want to mention though is that When he died he was buried in his Redcoat Uniform. I don't suppose that is Unique, but it certainly cheered me up, at a time when I was terribly sad."

Thanks to Andy King for providing this tribute and photos;

"I last saw Partrick at the Scarboro Redcoats Reunion in 2004 with his partner Bernie. Patrick was a very good Redcoat and a smashing person sorry to say l havent many photos of him, just the 1963 Redcoat Team Photo and one more."

Dave Moore - died 1997

Thanks to Nigel Jurgens who provided these details, "Former Redcoat and my entertainments manager at Pwllheli in 1978. Also ents manager at Clacton, Filey, Skegness and Bognor."

Thanks also to Denise Meadows (nee Hampton), who added the following;

"Dave Moore was the Entertainment Manager when myself and my twin brother were redcoats at Clacton in 1970. We were barely 18 years of age and leaving home for the first time, Mr Moore helped all us redcoats to get the most our of our summer experience and to ensure all guests have a wonderful time. Our first meeting, just before the camp opened for the season we were all instructed we were not allowed to walk past a guest without acknowledging them in some way, a smile, nod, wink or a friendly greeting. When asked to run a competition, appear on a show, sing in a bar, if you seemed to hesitate in any way his favourite saying was "you said you could do it when you wrote in for the job".

Mr Moore commanded respect from us all, but was always approachable and there to help, he was a lovely man. When I returned to Butlins at Bognor as a holiday maker with my small children a few years later I found myself walking towards my old manager down the road, he remembered me and took me to the Radio Butlin and showed me how times had changed since I was an announcer.

He was a special man and I will always remember him.

My twin, David, is no longer with me, having past away in 2002, but I know he would join with these sentiments."

Dave can be seen in this Clacton Redcoat photo from 1970. Click on the image for a larger view

Clacton Redcoats 1970

Lt. Colonel Basil Brown – 1901 to 1987

Director of Entertainment 1945 – 1970

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"'The Colonel' was, in 1943, Assistant Director to Army Services. He had a great love and knowledge of the entertainment business and quickly realised that a lot of the troops were talented entertainers. He decided to present them on a national scale and did this in the form of 'Stars In Battledress'. He enrolled the famous fim star, the late Jack Hawkins, as Commanding Officer and former Butlin entertainers, the late Jimmy Noon and Jimmy Charters were just two of the 'stars'.'The Colonel' was invited to join Billy Butlin to find and establish suitable venues for Entertainment Clubs and Leave Centres for troops coming back from the front for rest and recreation. These were called '21 Clubs', the name being taken from the 21st Army Group.

Colonel Brown and Billy Butln became great friends and, with the cessation of hostilities, 'The Colonel' became Director of Entertainment for Butlin's. For many years he had the reputation for being Billy Butlin's right hand man. On Sir Billy's retirement in 1968, 'The Colonel' became Managing Director and joint Chairman with Bobby Butlin.

I first met Colonel Brown, when I was boxing for the Services and he was President of The National Sporting Club, in York. When I later joined Butlin's 'The Colonel' recalled this and I noticed in particular he remarked, "I knew 'Rocky' when I was a member of the National Sporting Club" He did not say President! I think that sums up the modesty of Colone Basil Brown-the epitomy of a gentleman!!

Rest In Peace Sir."

Al Harris - c1929 to 2001

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Al Harris who was a former St Barnardo's boy, became a redcoat at Skegness in the early fifties. He was a member of the Original Butlin Square Dancing Team. He later became an assistant to the legendary Frank Mansell, before taking the reins as entertainment manager at Ayr. He was the entertainment manager selected to open Minehead camp in 1962. He moved from Butlin main centres to small centres and in the early eighties became entertainment manager of Duporth in Cornwall. Later promotions and area manager for Leisure Holidays - a subsidiary of Butlins."

Frank Mansell - died 18th September 1983, aged 67

Entertainment Manager, later Director of Entertainment for the Butlin Group

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Before joining Butlin's in c1951, Frank had gained a lot of experience as a double act with his wife Dizzie Leslie. They toured throughout the country for a number of years in theatre and cabaret. Mr Mansell later became what, in todays parlance, would be Road Manager, for the act Archie McCullagh. They were booked for a season in Revue, at Clacton camp, where Frank developed a lasting infatuation with Butlin's. After joining the Company he quickly rose to Enterainment Manager, and in that position ran the entertainment on the following camps, Ayr 1953 to 1955, Skegness 1956 to 1962, then Filey 1963 and 1964.

He was always respected as a popular and efficient Manager setting the highest standards for those who had to follow. It is my honest view that we all tried to emulate him but none of us quite succeeded! He left Filey to become General Manager of the Entertaiment Departments Theatrical Division, where he continued to be an enormous power in the Company. If at any time one of his redcoats or managers was finding something difficult or unpleasant they would be treated to his favourite expression, "You said you could do it when you wrote in!!" ........They don't make 'em like him any more.

Sleep well Mr M."

Dave O'Mahoney (Allen) - 6th July 1936 to 10th March 2005

Skegness Redcoat during 1955 to 1956 before becoming a comedian. Dave died in his sleep.

Thanks to Andy King for providing this tribute and photos;

"The Redcoat who made it - The Irish TV Comedian Dave Allen. I was a Redcoat with Dave (David Tynan O'Mahoney) at Skegness in 1955-56 before he became famous as a Comedian. I last met Dave when I was a theatre electrician at my Lincoln Theatre Royal and he appeared there in 1980, needless to say we had a good chat about our Butlin days and a few beers."

The 1956 Redcoat photo below includes Al Harris, Frank Mansell & Dave Allen. Click each image for a larger view

Skegness Redcoat Team 1956     Dave Allen

Johnny O'Mahoney

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Johnny O'Mahoney, the brother of the late Irish comedian Dave Allen, was the Chief Redcoat when I started at Filey in 1957. I took over from him in 1959 when, by his own volition he became the Camp Tramp and we were together until I was moved to Minehead in 1962. I became Entertainment Manager of Bognor in 1965, Johnny joined me as Camp Host.

Colonel Basil Brown, when Director Of Entertainments, voiced the opinion "When God made Redcoat Comedians he made Johnny O'Mahoney and then broke the mould!" It has taken me all of ten years to write a book on my experiences and such is my affection and respect for him that I have dedicated my book to him. Sadly he died in the most tragic of circumstances.

Rest in peace Johnny."

Keith Ellam - 10th February 1933 to 5th April 2003

Redcoat working at Filey, Bognor, Minehead, and the hotels at Brighton, Margate and Blackpool. Keith died in Australia.

Thanks to Ron Stanway for passing on these details on behalf of Wally Piggott. Ron had the pleasure to work with Wally Piggott for many seasons at Clacton & Pwllheli and they still kept in touch via email.

"Keith was a very popular Redcoat working at Filey, Bognor, Minehead, and the hotels at Brighton, Margate and Blackpool.

It was the winter season 1961/2 at the Ocean Hotel, Brighton when Keith teamed up as a double act with another long serving Redcoat called Wally Piggott. Mime Acts were very popular at the time and Wally & Keith entertained the Butlin guests and were very popular. As the act progressed, and at about the time they left Butlin's, they decided to have a stage name. Wally was the comedian of the pair and Keith the straight man - as Wally's name was Piggott the same as the jockey with the same name, he became Wally Lester and Keith (the straight man) became Keith Smart.

So, Lester & Smart were now professionals enjoying the show business life. Looking for more opportunity they emigrated to Australia in 1973 and never looked back. Cabaret, Theatre & Television they soon became one of the country's most successful acts and this was home for the act which lasted for 40 years.

Wally tells us that they never once had a row...just a load of laughs! In April 2003, Wally & Keith hoped to attend the Redcoat Reunion which was being held at the Ocean Hotel Brighton but sadly, Keith passed away just a couple of weeks before they were due to travel. Wally naturally stayed behind to make all the arrangements and the opportunity to meet up with old friends was lost."

Thanks to Leslie Melville for providing this tribute;

"Very sad to see this. I knew Wally Piggott and Keith Ellam both at Butlins and in Club-land when they had become Lester & Smart. I worked with them several times and they were present (instrumental even) at the conception of my act with the Clairvoyant Hen - the story is on my website - scroll down to "Maurice Fogel, a Mindreading Chicken and Me!". There is quite a bit of other Butlin's related stuff in this story that you might find interesting.

But I actually knew Keith even longer. He was originally a Blackpool man and we were both recruited into the R.A.F together in 1951!"

Wally Piggott - c1932 to 2014

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Wally joined Butlins as a General Duty Redcoat at Clacton camp in 1953. Becoming House Captain in his second year. He very quickly established his talents and became a Redcoat Compere-Entertainer. He formed a close friendship with Ron Stanway and they worked together for many seasons at Clacton and Pwllheli during the summers. Wally soon became a member of the permanent staff and worked at Brighton and Margate in the winters.

The writer first met Wally at the Butlin Ocean Hotel, Brighton, in the winter of 1960. It was that year at the Ocean that Wally first started doing a comedy double act with Keith Ellam and they originally called themselves 'Pearl & Dean'. They dropped the name after being threatened with legal action by the advertising company of the same name. They then called themselves 'Lester & Smart'. In 1963 they started entertaining on the cruise ships and in 1973 they emigrated and took the act to Australia where they had some considerable success and became a popular act in cabaret, theatre and television. Keith and Wally worked the act together for over 40 years. Wally leaves a wife Jackie, also a former Redcoat, a son and daughter and grandchildren.

Good night Wally, sleep well - and RIP."

Maurice Fogel - 1911 to 1981

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Maurice Jack Fogel, one of seven children, was born to a typical working class family in South London.

It is a great honour to be invited to write a short tribute to the man who in my view, and it's an opinion shared by many, was the greatest showman and mentalist the world has ever seen.

It has been said that when magicians caught a bullet in their teeth...he caught six! When magicians did rope tricks...he put a noose round his neck and jumped! When a magician ate a goldfish...Fogel would promise to eat a camper alive!! Old redcoats will remember with fondness his bowl of invisible fish from the Fiji isles. The bowl contained a few pebbles, a bit of plastic seaweed but no fish. It had a note asking campers not to feed the fish! Dozens of campers could be seen peering into the bowl in an attempt to see them!

To some people "The Amazing Fogel" was a mental wonder, to others an enigma who, for years strode the Butlin stage and stages of the world, reading people's minds and using his strange powers even to defy death.

He dared death with his famous 'Bullet Catch' presentation, he read minds and became a legend in his own time. Many in the magic business claim he was better even than Houdini, and most of the rest of the famous magicians of the time.

I am sure the world will never see his like again.

Dear Maurice - Rest in peace."

Paul Greves - died 1983

Paul Greves

Theatre Orchestra Leader at Filey from 1958 for many years. His orchestra played in the theatre pit for all the shows and played the main ballroom on the dance bands night off. Also worked at Minehead.

Ron Stanway has this memory of Paul from 1963;

"I was Asst Ents Manager there, on duty in the ballroom one night and in civvies 'cos I was a manager. At about 10.15pm Paul announced a 'ladies Invitation Waltz' and I was asked to dance by a young lady who four years later in 1967, became my wife and later this year we celebrate our 42nd anniversary."

Colin 'Rocky' Mason, a former Redcoat and Entertainment Manager at Filey for over 20 years, provided this tribute;

"Paul Greves started at Filey in 1958 and I recall that the drummer he had engaged for the season failed to arrive. Fortunately, I had contacts in the music world back in my home town of Bradford and I was able to telephone and find a suitable drummer for Paul within a few hours.

Paul was very grateful and we remained friends until I was moved from Filey to Minehead in 1962; the Paul Greves Orchestra continued at Filey for many more years where they played for all the theatre shows, late night cabaret and covered the Viennese ballroon on the dance bands night off. Accompanying a multitude of stars over the years and then there was the world famous Butlin Dance Festivals and the Paul Greves Orchestra would be called on to play for many dance competitions.

In addition to serious side of music, Paul brought his band to the weekly Sunday Morning March Past, wearing funny hats and clothes. This was always a popular start to the week for the new holidaymakers who had only arrived the day before.

He was a well liked man and a good professional."

Tony Barron - 1930 to 10th March 2009

Thanks to Frank Barron for proving these photos of his brother, click on each image for a larger view

Assorted images of Tony Barron between 1973 & 1989     Tony Barron in 1975     Tony Barron in 1986     Tony Barron in 2004     Tony Barron in 2007

Singer at Mosney from the early 1970's until the camp closed in 2000.

Thanks to Tony's brother, Frank Barron for providing the following tribute;

"I'm not sure exactly when Tony started singing at Mosney but it was either 1973 or 1974. He first sang with the Neil Kearns Orchestra and played double bass and bass guitar in the ballroom for several years and subsequently formed his own band which also played in Dan Lowery's, a well known hostelry on the camp. He successfully continued to perform at both venues until the camp was closed down in 2000.

At Mosney he enjoyed performing and included the children in the ballroom activities before the 9pm 'kids out' time. Some of them (now Mums and Dads themselves) have since told me of the fabulous memories they have of the evening entertainment when Tony was on stage. In addition, they tell that he always made a special effort to make sure that those who were disabled were fully included in the proceedings.

Tony had toured the world with various orchestras and artists such as Mick Delahunty, Jack Barrett, Jimmy O'Dea etc. on more than one occasion, both prior to and after his Mosney stints. On one US tour he sang alongside Stan Getz who was then the number one jazz saxophone player in the world. He also became a good friend of Mayor Daly of Chicago, who was also a keen music enthusiast.

Out of season he played many venues and top hotels in Dublin, of which the Gresham, Burlington, Clarence and Jurys were only some.

He continued performing until the summer of 2008 when he decided to call it a day, although he was still much in demand. However at the age of 78 he felt was entitled to do so as he had been singing and performing since he was 7 years old. A mere 71 years, which by any standards was a phenomenal achievement.

In October last year he was diagnosed with a terminal illness and died on the 10th March 2009. According to the priest who conducted the service, his funeral was, "The best attended I've seen for a long long time and I've been doing this for many years." Many of those in the congregation were musicians, some being ex Mosney men.

As a tribute to him, his friends and colleagues from the world of music, some well into their 80's, came out of retirement and reformed as a Dixieland Jazz Band to play at his graveside. Looking down, I'm sure he would have loved that.

I was totally unaware of very high esteem in which he was held by his peers for his singing/musical ability and was regarded by them as someone who made his work on stage look natural and effortless and could create a marvellous sense of rapport with his audience. The stamp, they assure me, of a true professional.

He was probably one of the most laid back and unassuming people one could meet, and he lived his life exactly as he wanted. He never wanted lots of money although he could have earned a fortune from performing. His life was his music, simple as that, money was never the driving force. No matter how busy, he never refused to do a charity gig and invariably found time for any deserving and needy causes.

The occasional pint during the week was something he enjoyed but he was certainly never a heavy drinker. His Saturday flutter on the horses (he was so looking forward to the Cheltenham Festival but died on the first day of the meeting) and of course his ciggies, which eventually proved to be the cause of his illness.

As the last sibling, I have many photos of Tony taken at Mosney and many other venues, that I can look back on as a reminder of a great guy. He was loved and respected by many and all of us will miss him."

Marten Tiffen - died 1998

Thanks to Colin 'Rocky' Mason, a former Redcoat and Entertainment Manager at Filey for over 20 years, for providing this tribute;

"'Rocky' Mason remembers Marten with affection as they worked together for many years at Filey and tells us that he, Marten, joined the Company as Entertainment Manager at the Margate Hotels in 1956. He was then moved to Filey where worked as Deputy to Wilfred Orange in 1957 and then took over as E.M. from 1958 to 1962 inclusive. Another move along the coast to Skegness for the 1963,4,5 seasons. During the winter months he was E.M at the hotels and completed his Butlin career at Bognor over the winter of 1965/6.

After Butlin's he became the Comptroller of the Longleat estate in Wiltshire working for the Marquis of Bath and became instrumental in helping to set-up the Longleat Safari Park as it is today. Some years later he married a school teacher in East Sussex and took work at the same school; sadly, we have no further knowledge of his whereabouts but he died many years ago.

Prior to joining Butlin's he had a wonderful start in the world of theatre playing in such West End shows as, 'Blue For A Boy' with Hy Hazell, 'Half-A-Sixpence', 'Zip Goes A Million' , and 'Charlie's Aunt' where he was considered to be one of the best 'Charlie's' ever.

Rest in peace Marten"

Thanks to Marten's daughter, Penny Watkins (nee Tiffen) for adding the following details;

"I believe he worked for Butlins from 1954 - 1966, after leaving the Theatre. He worked at several hotels/campsites, I remember him being at Margate, Clacton, Filey, Skegness & of course The Ocean Hotel (Saltdean) which, because it was near where we lived (Seaford), we visited every Christmas to "check on the balloons" as my Dad would say!!

After leaving Butlins in 1966 he was at Longleat House as the House Comptroller (Manager), then at the Thorndyke Theatre, then at Pilgrims & Newland Schools at the end of his working life. He passed away in 1998.

He was lucky enough to have 2 Silver Weddings!! My Mum, Ginette (actress) & Eugenie (solicitors clerk)."

Malcolm 'Mally' Watson - 1956 to 1998

Below are pictures of Mally supplied by both Valda Warwick & Kennie Jones. Click on each image for a larger view.

Malcolm Watson     Malcolm Watson     Malcolm Watson     Malcolm Watson

Redcoat at Ayr and later at Pwllheli

Thanks to Valda Warwick for providing the details and who told us, "He was a great and popular Red."

Thanks to Kennie Jones for providing this tribute, "I had the pleasure of working with Mally at Pwllheli for the 10 years which I was there. He was a great Redcoat & barhost whom I learnt my trade from. He finished his career there at Pwllheli working for Rank Amusements, everyone knew Mally, greatly missed by all."

Bryn Peters - dates unknown

Thanks to Valda Warwick for supplying this picture of Bryn, click on the image for a larger view

Bryn Peters

Ayr Compere in 1979 & 1980 who is believed to have later moved on to Barry Island

Thanks to Valda Warwick for providing the details and who told us, "He was a real nice bloke, a bit of a cheeky chappie but lovely with it. He certainly deserves to be on our page."

Thanks also to Keith Williams for providing the following tribute;

"Bryn and I were best friends and his sudden tragic passing robbed the entertainment industry of a great guy, a wonderful husband, and a very talented entertainer.

I worked with Bryn for many years. This was circa 1985-86-87-88-89. In those days we were both living in Romford in Essex. Bryn, during those years, was always working, he was in high demand and worked mainly for Wally Dent Entertainments out of Surrey and John Howe Entertainments. He worked the Butlins and Haven Leisure circuit for a few years.

He was extremely popular with everyone, and as a good friend, my mentor. Bryn and I, as I mentioned, did a lot of variety shows back in those days. I would go out, sing a few romantic songs for the ladies and Bryn would follow it up with side splitting comedy. Bryn was not a Blue Comic but his brand of comedy was such, that from the moment he stepped on stage he commanded his audience. Everyone loved him. I guess you would call him "Risque" by today's standards.

I left to work in the United States for Carnival Cruise Lines in 1990 and lost touch with him. I knew he was busy and he was starting to make it into the "Big Time" doing more Theaters and corporate work. He was still, according to my sources, working the Summer Season circuit and the more prestigious night clubs. Lakside Country Club in Frimly Green was one that comes to mind.

I tried to keep in touch, as best I could, although he was not one for letter writing, as E-mail and computers were not as popular then, as they are today. I think, if memory serves, it may have been 91 or 92 when I got the word from a mutual friend he had suddenly passed away. I was devastated at the news but could not make it back to England for the Funeral owing to cruise commitments in the Caribbean.

Apparently Bryn had been on Summer Season in the south of England and was working in Portsmouth, his home town. He was staying with his father at the time, I seem to recall. According to friends stories he had not been feeling well. He complained of pains in his stomach so his father suggested he should go to the doctor. After examination it was decided he should be given a shot just to relax him, which was administered by the Doctor. As he left the Doctor's Office he collapsed in the waiting room and died shortly after-wards. It was subsequently found out his body had an allergic reaction to the shot administered.

He was gone. According to reports he'd had a heart attack. Bryn had remarried a few years earlier and had a little girl. He loved kids and always wanted one of his own. I never got to meet his new wife nor meet is daughter which was a real shame.

I am sure, had he lived, Bryn would have become a house hold name like Jim Davidson, Jim Bowen etc. Like I said, a tragic loss not only for his family and friends but to the entertainment community in general.

I am now living in Northern California but my memories are still strong."

Colin. F. 'Johnnie' Johnson - 26th September 1919 to 18th June 1994

Entertainment Manager 1955 to 1961 incl.
Bookings Executive then National Sales Manager 1962 to 1984

Ron Stanway worked for 'Johnnie' Johnson at Pwllheli and again in London Office during the winter months. Thanks to Ron for providing the details and for this tribute;

"'Johnnie' joined the company after WW2 after he left the armed forces. It is thought he worked within the Entertainment Dept during those early years but later records show he became Entertainment Manager at Pwllheli in 1955, a job he shared with another Entertainment Manager, Alec Brown. It was then considered necessary to have two E.M's there for the simple reason that the Pwllheli Camp was split into two by the main railway line to Pwllheli. It was a plan doomed to failure and was never repeated. In 1956 and 1957 he was Entertainment Manager at Ayr but returned to Pwllheli as E.M. 1958 to 1961.

It was at the Butlin Albert Hall Reunion in the winter of '57/'58 that I first met 'Johnnie'. I had just completed my fourth season at Clacton as a Redcoat and at the reunion, 'Johnnie' took me aside to tell me that he had just been made Entertainment Manager at Pwllheli for the '58 season and, as many of their previous staff were not returning, he had been given permission to recruit redcoats from other sites. I readily agreed to the change and had two very happy seasons there in red & whites.

Back at the Royal Albert Hall Reunion in the winter months of '59/'60, 'Johnnie' asked me to consider a change of job; 'Knocker' White who had been Deputy Entertainment Manager for several years had resigned from Butlins and I was asked if I would discard my red & whites and take over as D.E.M. for the 1960 season and we worked together for the next three years.

We kept together during the winter months too when we moved to the old Head Office in Oxford Street, London to work in the Winter Weekends office. 'Johnnie' ran the department and I, along with three others, made the bookings for the weekends at Brighton, Blackpool, Margate, Bognor and Clacton.

Our paths separated in 1962 when 'Johnnie' changed from Entertainments Dept. to Bookings Dept based at Head Office; he served several years in this role then became National Sales Manager up to his retirement in about 1984.

My own career with the company owes alot to 'Johnnie' Johnson who was a valuable guiding hand during those early years of my management role. His attention to detail and advance planning soon rubbed off and in later years when I became General Manager, Entertainment and Promotions, I was able to cope with the added responsibility and resulting paperwork much easier thanks to his methods still being in my mind.

Thank you Johnnie and may you rest in peace."

Jim Lord - died 28th May 2009

Click on the image for a larger view

Jim Lord

Pwllheli Redcoat 1966 & 1967

Thank to Dave Sansome for providing the following tribute;

"A tribute to a friend.
Is it the final curtain..I think not dear friend.
For beyond the end of show
Is the beginning not the end.

Goodnight Campers see you in the morning.
To James Lord my friend.

Dave Sansome"

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following tribute;

"Jim worked for me at Pwllheli in 1967 and was a very popular, hard working chap with a splendid personality for the job.

It was my great pleasure to meet Jim again at a Redcoat Reunion at Scarborough in 2004 and I attach a photograph of him taken with 'Scottie' (Diana Scott as she was in 1967 and who had travelled from her home in Australia to be with us at the Reunion).

Rest in Peace Jim, you are now wiser than any of us.

Ron & Sheila Stanway"

Gus (Ernest Charles) Britton M.B.E. - dates unknown

Thanks to Ron Stanway & Rocky Mason for providing the following information & tribute;

Below is a photo from 1959, provided by Ron Stanway, which shows Gus filling up the aeroplane assisted by Ron. Click on the image for a larger view.

Gus Britten

"Gus Britten spent many years as a Redcoat at Butlin's following service as a Sub-Mariner and it is thought that his first season was 1947 at Pwllheli and the Redcoat group photograph for that year shows him clearly. Working at various camps during the summer and hotels for the winter months he completed many seasons up to and including 1966. During this time he worked as General Duty Redcoat, Chief Redcoat and, Lifeguard/Swimming Instructor. Some years he took other employment but regularly came back to the Camps.

One of the alternative jobs he undertook was in 1959 and that of Booking Operator for the Pleasure Flights, operating from the Broomhall Estate near the Pwllheli camp. Flights over the camp and the Llynn Peninsula were very popular and there was ample opportunity to see the splendour of Snowdonia. The Butlin guests were collected outside Main Reception and transported to the airstrip by mini bus.

Gus was selected to Captain a wooden built replica of a Viking ship to enable a team to retrace voyages the Vikings had made around the world. However, on reaching Spanish shores Gus burned the boat after declaring it unseaworthy.

When his Butlin days finally ended, Gus returned to his first love of submarines and became an Underwater Instructor at the special submarine school at Gosport, Hampshire.

We regret that no further information is available but hope that visitors to this website will add further tributes and dates. He is remembered with affection from his old colleagues, Rocky Mason and Ron Stanway."

Thanks to Sylvia Endacott for advising us that Gus was presented with an M.B.E. in 1995 for his services to the Submarine Museum.

Anthony John Bilton - 26th May 1962 to 25th September 2004

Thanks to Kennie Jones for providing the following information & tribute;

Below are various photos, supplied by Kennie Jones, which show Anthony & his grave. Click on each image for a larger view.

Anthony Bilton     Anthony Bilton     Anthony Bilton     Anthony Bilton     Anthony Bilton's Grave

"I first worked with Anthony at the Butlins Redcoat Fiesta in 1980 at Minehead to celebrate the life of Billy Butlin. Anthony was a multi talented singer from the Skegness camp who was the overall winner of the search for the most outstanding talent of the week at Minehead. He later returned to work with me again as a Redcoat compere and entertainer at Pwllheli in 1986 through to the end of the 80's. He came back to sing at my wedding in Pwllheli in 1991. Anthony will always be remembered by many as the man with the voice. He is sadly missed by many, family and friends, take a bow Anthony... r.i.p"

Paul John Cox - 18th April 1961 to 25th January 2002

Below are various photos of Paul, supplied by Kennie Jones. Click on each image for a larger view.

Paul Cox     Paul Cox in 1984     Paul Cox in 1984     Paul Cox in 1985

Pwllheli Redcoat. Thanks to Kennie Jones for providing the following tribute;

"Paul was a Red at Pwllheli with me from 1982-88. Paul was a lovable lad who loved life, he was a great drummer in his own town of Marston Green where he was a member of a band. Paul leaves his girlfriend and 3 children. Greatly missed."

Drew McNair - died January 2006

Redcoat & Show Red at Minehead from 1999 to 2000 & Bognor from 2001 to November 2004, he was 24 when he died in January 2005.

Wally Goodman

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Before joining Butlin's Wally had spent some time in Canada, in the 'Big Band' era, as an orchestra leader. He joined Butlin's at the end of the war and, after just one season as Entertainment Manager, at Filey, in 1945, his ability and potential contribution to the Company was soon recognised and he was appointed as Personal Assistant to Lt.Colonel Basil Brown. Wally had a wealth of knowledge on music, theatre and every branch of the business. After a long term friendship with Maggie Lamonde, the Senior Butlin Hostess, they married and spent the evening of their lives together.

Mr Goodman was a tough but kindly person who would offer a sympathetic ear to anyone from a Senior Manager to the newest Redcoat. His motto was always 'Fair Play' and it was a privilege to have known him and worked for him.

Fond memories. Rest together in peace Mr Goodman and Maggie."

Maggie Lamonde

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"The passing of time makes it difficult to be precise with certain dates. We know, from photographs, that Maggie joined the company shortly after the Second World War. The earliest photograph's of Maggie are at the Royal Albert Hall and Brighton soon after Butlin's acquisition of the Ocean Hotel.

Maggie, who had a vivacious and friendly personality, quickly became a Chief Hostess. On the retirement of the acclaimed Kay Bury, Maggie took over as Senior Hostess for Butlin's.

Wally Goodman, the assistant to Colonel Basil Brown, Director of Entertainment, and Maggie became very close friends. Over many years, this developed into a romance and Maggie and Wally, were eventually married and are now buried close together in London.

Fondest memories Maggie. God bless and RIP."

Michael Holliday - 1925 to 1963

Click on the image below for a larger view

Micheal Holliday

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

"At Clacton - 0n -Sea in 1955 the Eric Winstone Orchestra played for dancing in the Viennese Ballroom. The band vocalists were June Marlow (who later joined the Squadronaires) and Michael Holliday, a Liverpool lad. June & Michael were well supported vocally by Colin Prince who played the Double Bass in the band. I was a Redcoat at the time and well remember the popularity of this trio with solo's and duets - I remember Colin, who was taller than his Bass and Mike much, much shorter, would sing a duet then, to get off stage, Colin would bend his right forearm up and Mike would jump up and sit on his arm and be carried off into the wings.

It was in August that year that on the bands day off, Michael made his first recording and "Yellow Rose Of Texas" brought the name Michael Holliday to the fore. It was however the following year that Mike hit the charts with his second recording "Gal With The Yella Shoes". Mike's biggest hit was "Story of My Life" recorded in December 1957 and which topped the charts for three weeks in January 1958.

A BBC, TV series called "Relax With Michael Holliday" began in January 1958 and regular slots in the music charts kept his name to the fore. Britain's answer to Perry Como some said! In the 1960's Mike was constantly in the charts with titles such as "Dream Talk", "Stairway Of Love" and, "Palace Of Love". More songs were recorded in 1962 and early in 1963 a new BBC, TV series "Holliday at Home" was introduced. This was to be Mike's last TV series and as 1963 moved into Autumn, Mike cut his last three records on October 22nd, "Dream" and "My Last Date With You" were two of them.

Perhaps there was a message in the latter of these songs described by famous orchestra leader, Norrie Paramour as one of Michaels finest. It was just a few days later, on October 29th 1963 that Michael Holliday died aged just 38.

Thanks for the memories Mike, Rest in Peace, Ron Stanway, Clacton on Sea 1954/57."

Harry Griver - 1934 to 1996

Thanks to Harry's former Redcoat colleagues at Filey, Rocky Mason & Gerry Maxim, for providing the following details & tribute;

"Harry had been an A.B.A. Lightweight boxing champion, Army Imperial Services and Golden Gloves Champion before becoming a Redcoat Boxing Instructor at Filey Camp in 1955. He later became the 'Camp Toff' working a comic double act with the 'Camp Tramp', Johnny O'Mahoney. Harry left Butlin's after the 1963 season to become a London Cabbie. Harry, who was a London Eastender was a terrific boxer and an excellent Redcoat.

Rest in peace dear friend, Rocky and Gerry."

Mike Grogan - died 1998

Click on the image below for a larger view

Mike Grogan

Thanks to Terry Herbert for providing the following details & tribute;

"It was in May in 1956 when I arrived at the Butlin Margate Hotel for the first time to take over as a Redcoat Children's Entertainer. I was greeted by a slim, bespectacled man with crooked smile. "Do you have an adult act?" were the first words he said to me. "Yes," I said. "Good you are on tonight," he said. This was my first contact with a man who was to influence me not only throughout my career with Butlins, which was to last nine years, but for the rest of my life. The gentleman concerned was Mike Grogan, who to me was one of the funniest men in the business. He was not a stand up comedian as such but his ability to adlib and create hilarious situations was unbelievable. At the time I met him he was the resident compere which meant that he presented all the major competitions and he could turn a boring contest such as the Glamorous Grandmother into half an hour's pure entertainment.

He departed from the company in 1959 when he was headhunted by Russ Conway to be his personal manager and at that time he changed his name to Mike Regan.

He stayed with Russ until the mid-sixties who then introduced him to EMI Records and Moss Empires where he worked and looked after all the big stars of the day such as The Beatles, Shirley Bassey, Lulu, Diana Ross, the list was endless.

In 1973 due to failing health he decided to give up the stress of show business and seek a more relaxed way of life.

In the latter part of his life he devoted to charitable works and worked for such organisations as The Salvation Army and it was in 1998 that fate took a dreadful turn and he died through tragic circumstances.

I personally lost touch with him when he left Butlins but I shall always remember the man who was my greatest inspiration throughout my years in the business."

Alan Kehoe

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

"Joined Butlin's as a Redcoat in 1960 and 1961. He was a popular chap well liked by all his colleagues.

Happy memories from Alex McGowan, Dave Kessel and Ron Stanway."

Ricky McCabe - died 1992, aged 60

Thanks to Johnny Ball, a Redcoat with Ricky at Pwllheli 60/61, for providing the following details & tribute;

"Ricky McCabe was a Redcoat at Pwllheli in 1960/61/62 and spent the winter season at the Metropole Hotel, Blackpool 61/62. Ricky always wanted to be a comedian and as a young teenager he would sneak into the Liverpool Music Hall Theatre just across the road from his parents pub to listen to comics. One day, unknown to his parents, he entered and won the Carol Levis Talent Competition at the Liverpool Empire the prize being the opportunity to tour the major theatres in Britain. Afterwards he returned home and became a regular on the huge Liverpool club circuit.

It was in 1960 when he joined the Redcoats at Butlin's, Pwllheli, that he and I met and became firm friends. He was immediately a great hit in the Redcoat Show but Ricky, never the athletic type, quietly shunned the energy sapping jobs of a Redcoat but was always fun loving, caring and helpful especially with the elderly and children. Following a second season at Pwllheli 1961, he and I moved from there to the Butlin's Metropole Hotel for the winter and teamed up with another Redcoat comedian, Freddie Davis who had spent the summer at Skegness. Freddie, who later became known as Freddie 'Parrot Face' Davis and Ricky, helped me a great deal to put together an act of my own.

After Butlin's, Ricky worked at the well known Mike Hughes Agency in Liverpool and there he was involved in the early careers of Jimmy Tarbuck, Freddie Starr, Russ Abbott and Les Dennis. He always said that I should concentrate on Children's TV and as it turned out he was quite right. Later Mike Hughes moved his Agency to London and Ricky became a Liverpool Agent.

Ricky died in 1992, aged 60, as a result of a severe heart attack leaving his wife Chris, three daughters - Julie, Carole, Louise and a son - Paul."

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

"A Liverpool lad who joined the Redcoat staff at Pwllheli in both the 1960 and 1961 seasons. An aspiring comedian who was a jolly chap both on and off stage. Very popular with the campers and his act was very well received in the Redcoat Show. Years later he became a very successful Theatrical Agent in the Liverpool area.

Thanks for the laughs Ricky - Camper booking into Reception was asked "Have you got a good memory for faces?" "Yes," he replied "That's good said the Receptionist 'cos there's no mirror in your chalet!"

Rest in peace old friend, Alex McGowan, Dave Kessel and Ron Stanway."

Dennis "Topper" Brown - 9th August 1911 to 23rd October 1989

Click on the image below for a larger view

Dennis "Topper" Brown

Chief Redcoat and later Entertainments Manager at Mosney. Thanks to Jane Leslie & Ron Stanway for providing the details.

Born on 9th August 1911 in Perry Barr, Birmingham, Topper served in the British Army during the Second World War as a physical training instructor and reached the rank of Sergeant-Major in the Physical Training Corps which was stationed at Aldershot. He spent time during the war in North Africa and Kenya.

After the war, he was looking for a job and was walking down a street in Oxford with his wife, Edna, when he saw an advertisement in a shop window for positions at Butlins Holiday Camps. He applied, was successful, and was sent to Mosney as Chief Redcoat when the camp opened in 1948. He and Edna settled in Laytown, Co. Meath, close to Mosney and their only child, Roy, was born in Ireland.

Topper was promoted to Entertainments Manager at Mosney in the 1950s and continued in that position until his retirement, apart from one season in 1961 when he was sent to Pwllheli. This was because Mosney was like the "Lone Ranger" of Butlin's with very little contact with the sites across the water. Butlin's Head Office had decided that they needed to come into line with the other sites and to be "Butlinized." The long serving Entertainment Manager, Dennis "Topper" Brown was sent to Pwllheli for a season "to be Butlinized" and Al Harris, an equally long serving Butlin chap was sent to Mosney to Butlinize the Entertainment Department there. Ron Stanway was Assistant Entertainment Manager at Pwllheli when Dennis came for the season and remembers that Dennis spent the days walking from event to event seeing/hearing how they did things.

While he retired officially at the age of 65 in 1976, in fact, Topper continued to work on at Mosney for a number of years.

He died on 23rd October 1989 and was buried in Julianstown, Co. Meath not far from Mosney.

Jane Leslie made this tribute, "Topper Brown was an exceptionally popular member of staff at Mosney, and very well liked by all the people in the entertainments department. He ran the department with military precision and was always fair, helpful and very good-humoured."

Ron Stanway made this tribute, "Dennis Brown was a lovely man well liked by everyone and I am sorry to hear of his passing. Rest in peace, Dennis."

Harold Vinter - 1914 to 23rd December 1976

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Harold Vinter was the former Butlin's Publicity Manager, and joined the company in 1935. Harold was a cub reporter with a Skegness newspaper when Bill Butlin arrived to build his first holiday camp in 1936. After joining the company Harold, apart from war service, had been with Butlin's ever since.

Over a hundred mourners, including representatives from newspapers and magazines, were present at his funeral service. Sir William Butlin paid this tribute, "Harold Vinter was one of the original Butlin employees from 1935 and was a close personal friend of mine. His loyalty, hard work and dedication over the years did much to put the company where it is now. He will be greatly missed by me and by the scores of colleagues and many friends he made over the years."

God bless Harold and rest in peace."

Ronnie Hunter - 1927 to 1998

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Joining the Company in the mid 50's, Redcoat pianist Ronnie Hunter, married head revue dancer Vicky, at Filey in 1962 and left Butlin's at the end of the 1963 season. Ronnie took a job in Wallsend playing keyboard in the evenings in the many clubs around the North East.

Ronnie, eventually, became the proud father of three children, Paul, Neil and Wendy. Neither Ronnie nor Vicky could completely tear themselves away from Filey, returning with their family, as day visitors, many times over the years. Ronnie, who's signature tune was "Bill Bailey," was a very popular bar entertainer and Redcoat Sports Organiser, who gave many years excellent and loyal service to Butlin's.

God bless, old friend and rest in peace!"

Pat Bridle - 1934 to c1963

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Pat joined Filey as a General Duty Redcoat in 1955 and, by the strength of her personality and enthusiasm, became Chief Hostess in 1959. Known to her close friends as Patsy, she was a very popular Redcoat, of outstanding beauty and always returned to London for the winter season. She was constantly kept busy with modelling engagements in the fashion and beauty industry and frequently appeared in magazine articles. On leaving Butlin's in 1961 Patsy became a steward with American Airlines, where she met and married a Captain. Shortly after this it was found that Patsy had leukaemia and sadly passed away.

With loving memories R.I.P"

Roy Markwell

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Regretfully, as the years pass it becomes extremely difficult to obtain accurate information on specific dates. Roy, joined Butlin's in the mid 1940s and, in 1949 was selected to run the entertainment on the new Butlin project in the Bahama's. After being there for three years Roy returned and, in 1954 became Entertainment Manager of the Ocean hotel, Brighton. In 1958 he was transferred to the same position to Butlin's Clacton, where he stayed for three years.

In 1961 he became Entertainment Manager at Bognor then, in 1966 he was E.M. at the new camp on Barry Island for three years before moving to the Margate Hotels where he remained until 1972.

Roy was an extremely talented table tennis player and played the game to county standards.

He always collated his holiday entitlement to enable him to take one long vacation, usually to America, where he loved to tour by Greyhound bus.

During his service, at camp level, he also became an Area Entertainment Manager. He was a well respected, efficient and well loved manager.

God bless and rest peacefully Roy."

Clinton Ford - 4th November 1931 to 21st October 2009

Clinton was born in Liverpool in 1931 & his real name was Ian Harrison. Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

Clinton Ford"After his National Service which would have been around 1951/2, Clinton joined Butlin's as a Redcoat Entertainer at Pwllheli in 1957/8/9. With so many 'Liverpudlians' holidaying at Pwllheli, he was an instant success gathering a large following who enjoyed his brand of old and largely unknown songs.

In 1958 I was moved from Clacton to Pwllheli as a Redcoat and met Clinton for the first time. He was already a well established entertainer host of the Coronation Bar playing each night to a packed house. He sang songs such as 'Fanlight Fanny the Frousy Nightclub Queen', The 'Water Melon Song', 'Old Shep' and many others whose titles are lost in the sands of time. One of the lines in the 'Water Melon' song was "He's got the biggest and the best in Africa" very risqué in those days. 'Old Shep' was a real tear jerker and when he sang this in the weekly Redcoat Show it reduced a 2,000 seater theatre to tears. Never have I seen so many people weeping in one place. Oh yes, mustn't forget the old Charlie Chester favourite, “In the Old Bazaar in Cairo” with a line that went; "Rice pud very good, what's it all about. Made it in a kettle and they couldn't get it out. Everybody took a turn to suck it through the spout, in The Old Bazaar in Cairo".

As a bar entertainer he tucked himself into the corner of the room at the end of the bar counter, a black Stetson hat on his head and he would stand there all night strumming his guitar and singing his songs. Periodically he would ask "if anyone has a special request just write it on the label of a full bottle of Whitbreads", needless to say there was always a line of bottles on the end of the counter.

For many years Clinton enjoyed success as an entertainer working most of the theatres in Britain. He was always a popular addition to the taverns of Liverpool during the golden years of the Beatles etc.

Old Butlin Redcoats, Tony Marriott, Ken Hopson, Bill Stewart, Alex McGowan, Dave Kessell, Wally & Jackie Piggott, Derek & Dee Laurence, Henri Rouah and Rocky Mason, join me in sending our sincere condolences to Clint's wife Maggie and the children, Georgina, Susannah, Becky & Ian.

May your guitar stay in tune Clint and our grateful thanks for the songs we enjoyed so much.

Rest in Peace"

Charlie Drake - 1925 to 2006

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"With his catchphrase, "Hello My Darlings" this former Butlin Redcoat, quickly established himself as one of the most popular comedians of the 1960's, 70's and 80's. The catchphrase came about because Charlie was only 5ft 1 inch tall and so his eyes would usually be directly in line with a lady's bosom. He was born Charles Edward Springall in South London's, Elephant and Castle, and took his mother's maiden name for his comedy work on stage. He had the courage and persistence to learn his trade touring the working men's clubs. He turned professional in 1953, and made his TV debut in The Centre Show. He then joined his partner Jack Edwardes, forming the comedy double act "Mick and Montmorency" They did two seasons as Butlin Redcoats, at Filey in 1954/5, where Charlie was also a Judo Instructor. After going solo Charlie had considerable success in films and with his own shows on television. Charlie starred in four major films; Sands of the Desert: Petticoat Pirates: The Cracksman: and Mr Ten Percent. His television shows however, were much more successful with The Charlie Drake Show winning an award at the 1968 Montreux Festival. Other shows included Slapstick and Old Lace: and Who Is Sylvia. His most memorable which ran from 1965 to 1970 was The Worker. He also had a hit record with My Boomerang Won't Come Back. He is reputed to have left just £5000, in his will, of the £5 million he allegedly blew on women, race horses and fast cars - the rest of it Charlie said was just wasted! Charlie died aged 81 of a stroke, in Brinsworth House. His Butlin Redcoat slapstick act as "Mick and Montmorency" was a big hit with the campers at Filey camp.

Sleep well Charlie and rest in peace.

Rocky Mason"

Eric Winstone - 1915 to 1974

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"The famous band leader, of the Eric Winstone Orchestra, was resident on the Butlin camps for more than 20 years, where he played live broadcasts to countries throughout the world.

Eric the popular band leader and composer from the 30s through to the 70s once worked as a clerk for the Gas Light and Coke Company, in Westminster and played piano in his spare time, before leaving to become a full time musician.

He learned to play the accordion and became highly regarded, gave lessons on the instrument and eventually founded an accordion school. Eric became an accomplished arranger for the instrument and formed his renowned Accordion Quintet.

During World War II he led the Eric Winstone orchestra and toured throughout Europe entertaining the troops. Invariabley, Eric fronted a 22 piece orchestra and amongst the musicians associated with his various line-ups were some of the greats: Ralph Dollimore: Alan Moorhouse: Roy Marsh: Frank Deniz: Freddy Gardner: George Bradley: Jimmy Skidmore and many others along with vocalists Alan Kane and Michael Holliday.

For many years Eric was musical director for Southern Television. He also wrote music for films, his best remembered composition was "Stage Coach"

Sleep well Eric and rest in peace."

Al Freid - c1910 to 1974

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Al Freid was the first, official Musical Director to be bought into Butlins as, up until his arrival, the dance orchestra had played for the shows. As the quality of the variety shows improved and with the introduction of resident revue's it became apparent that a theatre orchestra was required. Al Freid had considerable experience playing for shows on the famous Moss Empire circuit, and had also conducted at the London Palladium. Al became the pioneer of the Butlin theatre pit orchestra's and, in this role, was most certainly the most accomplished musician ever to play at Butlins.

Apart from being a superb musician, on his instrument the violin, he was also an excellent sight reader with the rare ability to be able to transpose music on sight. Al was also an accomplished composer.

He was well known, to the point of being famous, to artistes throughout the country and was highly respected by every musician who knew him.

It could not be argued that Al Freid was the most consummate theatre orchestra leader to ever be associated with Butlins and the company had a reputation for having pit musicians second to none. A very talented, loyal and experienced colleague who is constantly sadly missed.

Rest in peace Al."

Dusty Springfield - 1939 to 1999

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Former guest artist on Butlin Redcoat shows, Dusty was born, Mary, Isabel, Catherine, Bernadette O’Brien, and was awarded the OBE.

Dusty was a regular guest artist at Butlins, certainly at Filey, where, in the late fifties, she performed with her Pop-Folk trio on the Redcoat shows. The trio was called "The Springfields" and consisted of Dusty, and her brother’s Tom and Tim.

During the Spring of 1963, the Springfields recorded their last British Top Five hit, "Say I Won't Be There" before disbanding.

Dusty's first single "I Only Want To Be With You" was released that year and this song was the first record to be played on BBC-TV's 'Top Of The Pop's' programme. Another of Dusty's songs to be No 1 in the British charts and No 4 in America was "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" She had another fantastic winner with "Son of a Preacher Man"

Sadly, in 1999, Dusty died, at the age of 59, of breast cancer on the day she was due to go to Buckingham Palace to receive her Order Of The British Empire. The Queen had given permission for the medal to be collected by her manager and presented to Dusty in hospital, where she was surrounded by close friend's and family.

Just ten days later she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, by Elton John, who stated... "I think she is the greatest white singer there has ever been!"

God bless you Dusty, Rest in Peace."

Wilfred Orange - c1901 to early 90's?

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Wilfred Orange joined the Butlin entertainment staff shortly after the Second World war, and became Entertainment Manager of Filey, in 1947. He moved to Ayr in 1948 and remained for five seasons until the end of '52. A year was spent at Head Office, until he returned to Filey in 1954, and remained as Entertainment Manager until 1957.

Wilf, as he liked to be known to his friends, had considerable experience and a varied background in the world of ballroom dancing. He was, with his lovely wife Barbara, an accomplished former competition dancer, and had run a number of well established dance schools. He had also been chairman of the Official Board of Ballroom Dancing.

In 1948, he and Barbara, organized the National Veleta competition to be presented at the Butlin Reunion, which was held annually at the Royal Albert Hall. Over 5,000 couples took part and it became an annual event.

Wilf and Barbara also organized the first Dance Festival, which took place at Butlins Pwllheli. It was such a success that a Festival was presented each year on every Butlin camp.

A little known fact about him is that Wilf was a trained and highly competent harpist, who gave a number of public performances.

He was, of course, an excellent and experienced Entertainment Manager.

Sleep well Guv'nor and rest in peace."

Colin Crompton - 1931 to 1985

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Former Redcoat Colin Crompton, was born in Middleton, Manchester, and joined Butlins as a Redcoat at Ayr camp in 1956. He first came to the notice of a wider public when he appeared with television's 1974 series of "The Comedians", which launched his career. The show had two successful years on television and also ran as a stage show at the London Palladium and the North Pier, Blackpool.

Later he appeared as The Chairman, in "The Wheeltappers & Shunters Social Club" television series with Bernard Manning. He became established as one of Britain's great comedy talents.

Colin appeared for a number of summer seasons in Butlins Revue shows and as a guest artiste on the Sunday Variety Shows. In later life Colin bought and ran a pub "The Birch and Bottle" in Cheshire.

Colin died of lung cancer in August 1985, aged 54, after fighting a six month long losing battle, leaving three children Cheryl, Erica and John.

Sleep peacefully Colin."

Jack Reed

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Jack Reed was a member of ENSA during the Second World War. ENSA, or to give it its full title, Entertainment National Services Association, was an organization set up at the start of World War Two, to provide entertainment for British Armed Forces Personnel. Many well known stars performed in ENSA, including George Formby, Gracie Fields and Wilfred Bramble; later of Steptoe fame. ENSA was distinct from "Stars In Battledress" and "Pioneers on Parade", in that the performers were not members of the armed services.

Jack was a ventriloquist, but didn't use a conventional dummy, or doll, he used instead a collection of large Toby Jugs.

Jack joined Butlins, as a compere/ producer in the early fifties and, over the years, entertained on most of the Butlin camp's and, during the winter seasons, in the hotels.

Jack, became a close friend of Marten Tiffen, who was Entertainment Manager of Filey, when Jack worked there in 1959. He moved to Ayr, for the summer of 1962 and, at some time in the seventies, spent a number of seasons at Minehead.

Jack Reed, who's catchphrase was "Wot Went Wong?" was the consummate professional, a popular personality and admired by staff and camper's alike.

Sleep soundly Jack, and rest in peace."

Kay Bury - dates unknown

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Kay went to Butlins Skegness, during the opening year of 1936, and it was there that Kay was first smitten by the Butlin Bug. She had, however, to wait throughout the way years to achieve her ambition to be a Redcoat.

Kay joined the team at Filey, on the cessation of hostilities, in 1945, and recalled, in a conversation we had, that the camp was half full of holiday makers and still half full of troops. Kay started as the entertainment manager's secretary and hostess. Most of Kay's 20 years service with the company was as Redcoat Chief Hostess, working all the camps in the summers. During the winter she was Chief Hostess in the hotels, as well as having her own desk at head office in Oxford Street.

Kay was hostess at the many Butlin functions, which included looking after the VIP's and show business stars at the annual Butlin reunion at the Royal Albert Hall. She also had her own singalong bar at Clacton camp called 'Kay's Bar', and was a member of the original Butlin's square dancing team. Kay is featured in many of the books written about Sir Billy Butlin and the Holiday Camp Empire.

Fond memories Kay, rest in peace."

Dave Meredith

Thanks to Michael who told us, "It was sad news to hear that Mr Dave Meredith has passed away. I worked with him for five years in Main Catering department, Minehead. (1971 – 1976)."

Micheal supplied this photo which shows Dave, his wife Chris and most of middle management of Main Catering dept. Kitchen Manager, Dining room Managers and supervisors and was taken in the Beachcomber Bar in 1974. Click for a larger view.

Dave Meredith

Uncle Boko - c1902 to 1966

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Uncle Boko, the famous Skegness Children's Entertainer, who's pseudonym was so eminent that no-one knew his real name, was an institution at Butlins Skegness.

Boko took great pride in the fact that in his later years he was entertaining children of parents he had entertained as children!

Uncle Boko's trademark was his fez and he was never seen without it. His whole attitude to children was beyond reproach and his shows were superb. Boko would never be seen with a glass of beer, or anything else, in any of the Butlin bars.

Entertaining children at Butlins was his whole life and he was extremely proud of his 21 years unbroken service. Uncle Boko you are a legend.

God bless you and rest in peace."

Laurie Boynton - c1932 to c2003

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Laurie was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, growing up there during the Second World War, when, to escape the German bombing raids, he was evacuated out into the country. At a very young age Laurie became a keen rugby player and a great fan of the game. He served an apprenticeship in painting and decorating and his National service was spent in the parachute regiment.

Laurie was a popular personality who had a somewhat varied career with Butlins. Starting as a Redcoat in 1962 managing the Rock 'n Roll ballroom at Filey and later moving to Minehead on accommodation, where he became Deputy. Then, after a move to Filey, became Accommodation Manager. He also spent some time at Ayr, on camp management. Also after returning to entertainments for a short period he was Entertainment Manager of Barry camp.

Towards the end of his career Laurie made something of a name for himself as a stuntman, working for television and in numerous films.

Sleep well Laurie and rest in peace."

Chris Kenny - 1929 to 2002

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"A versatile and talented, entertainer and comedian, Chris had a somewhat varied career with Butlins. Starting at the Metropole hotel, Blackpool, in 1958 where he met his wife Julie. Chris returned in 1964 as entertainment manager. The early sixties saw him performing as a compere/entertainer between Cliftonville hotels at Margate and the Ocean hotel, Saltdean, Brighton. Chris, originally from Liverpool, was a devoted Everton fan and followed their games with passion. He returned to Margate in 1967 in the role of entertainment manager, later moving to Skegness camp as compere/host and successfully running the Queen's club bar. Shortly after his Skegness venture he entertained on a number of Mediterranean cruises. Chris is sadly missed.

Rest in peace Chris."

Terry Dale - c1933 to c1986

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Terry, originally from Thackley, Yorkshire, was a talented and popular Redcoat compere/comedian, who joined Butlins in the sixties, after learning his trade in the tough Northern clubs. A well established personality, who after working numerous camps in the summer, spent a number of winters at the various Butlin hotels. Entertaining, with great success, at Cliftonville and Brighton before settling for some time as entertainment manager at the Metropole, Blackpool. Terry's style of comedy was renowned throughout the company and it was said that Terry often went where others feared to tread! A much respected and well loved Butlin 'character'.

Sleep well Terry and rest in peace."

Beryl Dale - born c1940

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Beryl, the first wife of Terry Dale, was a talented and popular Radio Butlin supervisor for a number of years and worked on numerous camps. Beryl settled at Pwllheli in 1970 and spent more time there than at any other camp. Always wanting to do Redcoat duties beyond her main job in RB, she was a popular, well liked personality.

Beryl died in a tragic car accident at a young age.

Sadly missed Beryl. Rest in peace."

Gordon Ricketts aka London - dates unknown

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Gordon was a remarkable General Duty Redcoat and a much loved character who joined Butlins at Skegness in 1966. The term GD Redcoat is now a thing of the past, the position, like the job, has naturally changed considerably over the years. I think the modern day host would be termed Redcoat Entertainer. Perhaps because of necessary changes to the holiday camp business, the 'non stage' entertainment has been reduced considerably over the years. In Gordon's day it wasn't seen as necessary for a Redcoat to have an act, indeed, I am quite certain that when Sir Billy came up with the idea of a team of Redcoats, having an act was the last thing on his mind, he could employ entertainers for that side of the business. A strong and friendly personality with the ability to mix and mingle was a far more important criteria - and that was Gordon's forte! For every games contest, or event in the programme, he could work the bye's out in his head and knew the rules inside out. It was a delight to walk behind him on the camp roads and note how he spoke to every single person, man, woman or child that he passed. Gordon could light up a whole room...simply by walking in!! The personification of everything Sir Billy dreamed about in a Butlin redcoat.

Sleep well old friend and RIP."

George Humphries - 1939 to 1994

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"George was a very popular and loyal servant of the company for quite a number of years. Starting as a Redcoat in the early sixties he became Chief Redcoat of Bognor in 1965 before progressing to the position of assistant and later deputy manager. George was a keen and talented table tennis player. George also worked at Clacton and Pwllheli before taking up the position of deputy manager at Filey, his loyalty and enthusiasm could only be described as 'second to none'. He remained in this position until 1983 when he became the entertainment manager. After leaving the company with the closure of Filey, he continued working on camps and was engaged at the Blue Dolphin, Scarborough, up to his sad demise. Dear George died at just 55 years.

Sadly missed George. Rest in peace."

Johnny Lancaster - 1942 to 2010

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute on behalf of all the many friends 'Johnny' made at the various Butlin Centres with helpful information from John Lancaster Jnr;

"Born in Oswestry, Shropshire, Christopher John Lancaster, known to all thereafter as, Johnny, joined Butlin's in 1960 at Pwllheli. He had obviously taken advice from his father Teddy, who had worked in the Entertainment Dept at Pwllheli in 1959 as a 'Green Coat'. 'Green Coats' were introduced that year and were worn by those members of the Entertainment staff who were solo musicians eg, Accordionists, Organists or Pianists who played for Sing Songs or Talent Auditions etc.

Johnny, was a multi instrumentalist and in addition to his solo work he was often a valuable addition to the shows in the theatre as an act. Piano, saxophone, bagpipes, clarinet, guitar, trumpet and post horn, his talents were endless.

As a young teenager Johnny set up his first musical group "Loony Lancaster and the Layabouts". The band played gigs around the local scene, skiffle being the popular rhythm in those days.

His Butlin seasons were numerous, 15 in all but long before this, the 'Green' blazer had long gone and he was now a professional artiste on the Butlin circuit. Quite remarkably, in the mid '60's he made a giant decision when he chose to change his act and add Comedy. His new act was just as popular and he was now also appearing as a support act on the Butlin Late Night Cabaret circuit, by now very much a comedian. Successes followed with seasons at Pontins, and many other holiday camps, a TV appearance on 'Opportunity Knocks' only to come second to child star, Lina Zaveroni.

In the mid '70's he gave up the world of entertainment and purchased 'Happy' Hambrook Holiday Camp near Chichester on the South Coast. He then went on to own a host of licensed premises across the South Coast including the Felpham Club, where a large number of his clientele were from the Butlin's Head Office just along the road and, The 'Duke of Lancaster' in Brighton.

This lasted 26 years and Johnny then made probably the biggest change in his life. This was in 1996 when one night he played his Hammond organ for the last time in the Felpham Club, gave up all the stage and licensed work to become a Taxi Driver in and around the Bognor Regis area. Johnny felt that he had spent so much time during his career driving from gig to gig, that taxi driving made sense and he purchased 'Yellow Star Taxi's'. In 2005 Johnny became partially retired and spent most of his days coping with DIY jobs around the house and caring for his wife Linda whose illness required full time care.

Johnny never forgot his Butlin days and one day put all his memories into print with a book entitled "If it hadn't been Hi-Di-Hi, It Wouldn't Have Been Funny". This book was published in 1994. Likewise, Johnny who was an avid golfer (he had a handicap of 5) had another book published in 1994 and called "I Was Standing Too near To The Ball – After I'd Hit It!" As a keen golfer he had a most unusual claim to fame – He was the only golfer to have played 23 rounds of golf in one day. Aided by motor cyclists from the Royal Military Police he accomplished this record in 19hours. An earlier book was called 'No, We're Not a Funny Bunch of People' and was written about his other great love; The Masons with whom he enjoyed a 40 year career.

The following old friends from those early days at Pwllheli in 1960 send their condolences to Johnny’s family: Dave Kessell (San Diego, USA), Alex McGowan (Baltimore USA), Wally & Jackie Piggott (Australia), Dee & Derek Laurence, Ron & Sheila Stanway, Ken & Joan Hopson and David & Tina Simpson.

Further friends from the years following at other camps: Alan & Marjorie Ridgway, Leslie Melville, Johnny Mans, Paul Rumke and Tony Peers.

Johnny, you are wiser now than any of us, Rest in Peace."

Donald Derek Laurence - 21st April 1937 to 9th July 2010

Click on the image below for a larger view

Derek Laurence

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

"Born in Edinburgh, Del, as he was known, was a gifted sportsman and played soccer for Hibernian in the Scottish League. He also had a very good singing voice and could play the piano. It was during a holiday at Butlin's, Ayr in 1957 that these won him the weekly heat of the talent show. As a result of this he was invited by the Entertainment Manager to return the next season as a Redcoat. After just a few weeks he was transferred to Pwllheli where he became one of a very happy group and one where the friends he teamed-up with lasted for over 50 years. He returned to Pwllheli in 1959 and 1960 after which he felt the time had come to settle down and take a 'proper job'.

In 1962 he married former Revue Dancer and Redcoat, Dee Piggott and together they rented a house in West Bournemouth. They developed a Mind Reading Act alongside Del's singing talent which led to bookings at hotels in the area entertaining holidaymakers. Some years later, with a family on the way, they decided to find other work and although a Master Carpenter by trade, he changed direction completely finding a niche at the Ford Motor Factory at Dagenham working as a Buyer in the Components Department.

Dee & Del became parents of two strapping sons, Craig and Grant and Del's love of sport was inherited by older son, Craig, who is now a Professional Golf Pro. Grant, after a number of jobs, moved to San Diego, USA where he became a buyer of auto parts in a similar capacity to his father.

Family and friends attended the funeral at Chelmsford Crematorium on Friday 23rd July 2010, Even after 52 years, friends from his Butlin days, Tony & Maureen Marriott, Ken Hopson and Ron Stanway were there to say farewell. Both Alex McGowan and Dave Kessel, now living in the USA, sent their condolences. It is interesting to note that none of these ex Butlin colleagues knew that his first name was Donald as he was always known as Derek until years later Dee gave him the name of 'Del'. In his Eulogy, Craig revealed the reason why his father preferred to be known as Derek rather than Donald as being a Scotsman he felt he would be constantly asked 'Donald where’s your trousers?'

Derek fought a long hard battle against cancer but is now at peace and a lot wiser than us all. Farewell dear friend until we all meet up again."

Janet Pierce - died 1988

Thanks to Christopher Whitelaw for providing the following details & tribute;

"Jan was a redcoat at Butlin's Bognor from 1973 and was House Chair when I met her. Her speciality was whist drives and she could usually be found in the Princes Ballroom, sometimes supervising but usually playing a hand at whist. She was always fun to be with and I remember celebrating a Christmas lunch with her and her soon-to-be husband Phil Solomon in the middle of June!

Jan died of liver failure in 1988. There were many ex Bognor "Reds" at her funeral.

Until we meet again, sleep well hun. We still miss you."

Michael Haugh (aka Tony) - 1939 to 2010

Thanks to Frank Barron for providing the following details & tribute;

"The funeral took place on 4th December 2010 of Michael Haugh, a drummer at Mosney for many years. He was held in the highest regard by his peers for his dedication, professionalism and musical ability. Although small in stature, he had a big heart and was always ready to help those in need. I'm forever in his debt for the way he supported my late brother Tony Barron during his long illness. Michael was there for him and gave so much of his time without a second thought.

He will be greatly missed by Margaret, Maura and his extended family whose love and affection for him was without bounds. One of lifes great characters, he was always great 'craic' to be with and one of those lovely people who we meet all too seldom in our lifetime. May he have many jam sessions in eternity and spread the joy there as he did in Butlins at Mosney for over 20+ years. We will all miss you Michael as you brought so much into peoples lives.

Rest In Peace"

Bert Hayes

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Bert was the popular dance band leader and MD at the Butlin Cliftonville Hotel Group, where he had a five piece band during the summer seasons playing for dancing in the Grand ballroom. The band was reduced to a trio during the winter months and would play in the George ballroom.

Bert also accompanied artistes for the Queen's theatre shows. From its inception in 1955, he was also musical director for the popular TV series "Crackerjack", a popular comedy show for kids, with the comedy initially coming from Leslie Crowther and Ronnie Corbett in the 1950's, and ending with Stu Francies and the Krankies in 1984. This talented musician was also MD for the highly popular Basil Brush and Lenny The Lion shows. Fondly remembered by Rocky, Mike Onions, Leslie Melville, Red Brigden and Terry Herbert, sleep well Bert and Rest In Peace."

Bill Tennick

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Bill joined Butlins just after the war in c1947, as a redcoat dance instructor and by 1957 had become deputy entertainment manager to Wilf Orange at Filey camp. Bill remained at Filey in that position, doing a very useful job for Marten Tiffen, until 1961 when, taking over from Larry Knight, he became entertainment manager of the Butlin Cliftonville hotels. He remained in that position until forced to retire by ill health 1964.

RIP Bill, fond memories Rocky and Terry Herbert."

Marjory Tennick

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"The wife of Bill, joined Butlins as a dance instructor and later became a Radio Butlin announcer. Marj became supervisor of Radio Butlin at Filey in 1956, and was a very reliable and efficient worker. Marjory had a special 'party piece' which was an announcement that she wrote to put out over Radio Butlin on the last day of every season. It was to say farewell to all the staff-wish them a happy winter and hoping they would return the following season. It was guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.

RIP Marjory, with Respect Rocky."

Dennis Venton

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Dennis was the big, rotund camp comic who spent many years with the company and became almost of an institution at Skegness camp. Dennis was something of a specialist presenting the Lucky Dip show and was also a great asset in the Redcoat Show and Old Time Music Hall. He was a great favourite with the campers for many years.

Fond memories Dennis and rest in peace. Rocky Mason."

Bob Monkhouse - 1928 to 2003

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Bob Monkhouse, it could be said, was the most popular comedian to ever perform at Butlins, and amongst the entertainment staff he was arguably the nicest, friendliest person ever to appear on Late Night Cabaret.

His early success was as a scriptwriter with his partner Denis Goodwin and they went on to write for the immortal American comedy legend Bob Hope. As host of "The Golden Shot" - "Celebrity Squares" - "Family Fortunes" - "Bob's your Uncle", to name but a few, Bob probably presented more TV game shows than any other British Performer. When I launched the first ever "Late Night Cabaret" at Butlins Skegness in 1967, it opened the gates for Butlins to be able to afford the biggest showbiz stars in the country. Bob Monkhouse was the first name that Billy Butlin thought of and Bob continued to star in the show for the next few decades.

He had a reputation for having a "computerized memory" and it was common knowledge that he could 'remember' the name of the compere, hostess, member of stage crew, redcoats and musicians on every single Butlin camp but in truth Bob had a 'little black book'! I discovered this when we moved the cabaret from The Showbar to the Regency bar and I met Bob at the gate to show him where the venue was. I got in the back of the car -Jackie was driving and Bob was reading a small black book. I glanced over his shoulder and saw it contained the names of people Bob was likely to meet. How kind that one of the biggest showbiz names in the country would take the trouble to do that.

Shortly after Bob crossed the river his lovely wife Jackie passed away too. God bless you both - from your many friends at Butlins and may you rest in peace."

Roy Castle - 1932 to 1994

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Roy was born in Holmfirth, Yorkshire. He developed a talent for dancing, singing and comedy, also becoming an accomplished actor and TV presenter. Roy was also a talented jazz trumpeter.

The son of a railway worker he started dancing lessons at a very early age. After a spell at grammar school he joined an amateur concert party and that was the start of his showbiz career. In the early 1950's he moved to Cleveleys near Blackpool and became a regular performer at the local Queens Theatre, turning professional in 1953 as a stooge for Jimmy Clitheroe and Jimmy James, and by 1958 he was appearing in the Royal Variety Show. By the sixties he was starring in his own TV show and appeared in the film "Dr Who and The Daleks" Roy appeared in many other films and in 1973 he teamed up with comedy legend Ronnie Barker for the original "Another Fine Mess". In the same year he performed in the successful and long-running TV show "Record Breakers".

Roy was one of the first 'Bill Toppers' on Late Night Cabaret at Butlins and was a popular performer on the show for a number of years.

Sadly this warm and friendly man was found to have lung cancer in 1992, and, after bravely fighting this condition, passed away in 1994.

Sadly missed by family, fans and all your friends - many of them from Butlins.

Sleep well dear Roy and rest in peace."

Dave Brady - 1960 to 2001

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Dave joined Butlins Filey as a member of the stage crew in 1983, the year of the camp's closure. The following season he moved to Barry Island where he again established himself as a popular member of the staff and along the way acquired the nickname "Dazzling Dave". He was Chief Redcoat until Barry closed in 1986.

Dave and Mandy then worked for Majestic as entertainment managers for a number of seasons, also doing a season with Warner's Teamstars at Devon Coast Country Club, with a winter season at Gunton Hall. Dave and Mandy had a spell in hotel management at the Russell Court Hotel in Bournemouth. After acquiring experience in this venture, Dave and Mandy, in 1992, took the reins as the general management team at the well known Majestic Templestowe Hotel in Torquay. Dave and Mandy married in 1994 and the reception was held at the hotel. To this day the staff proudly boast that the popular manager "Dazzling Dave" brought with him "Quite a bit of Butlins", with the accent on Bingo-Cabaret-Dancing-Comedy-Quiz Time-Fancy Dress and floor shows. Dave and Mandy spent 10 happy years at Torquay, taking the Majestic Templestowe Hotel into the Special Hotel that it is today.

Fondly remembered Dave, by Rocky, George and all the Filey team. David, Tina and the Barry team. Fiona and all the staff at The Templestowe, with, of course, your loving wife Mandy. Sleep well dear friend and rest in peace."

Jack Randerson - 1924 to 1999

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Jack, who was born in Goldthorpe, south Yorkshire, started at Butlins Filey in 1949 and, after a short spell in the catering department applied, and was accepted, for a job on the security department. He became a uniformed commissionaire and by the summer of 1958/9 was promoted to sergeant commissionaire. I first got to know 'Sergeant Jack' at this time when he became responsible for controlling the large crowds of 2,000 and upwards at the weekly boxing exhibitions in the Sports Stadium. He met and married his wife Mary in 1946, shortly after leaving his job in coal mining. Jack was a popular member of the permanent staff and continued in his job heading up commissionaires until leaving the company in 1974.

Greatly missed by his wife Mary and sons Barry, Anthony (Tony) and Mike.

Sleep well old friend and 'Rest in Peace'."

Janet Brown - c1924 to 2011

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Dear Janet Brown, the brilliant Scottish comedienne and impressionist has sadly passed away aged 87 years. Janet who was a regular on television in the 1960's, 70's and eighties, was famous for her Margaret Thatcher impersonation, even doing it in a James Bond film. Janet was a good friend of Butlins for many years where she performed in Resident Revue shows and Sunday Varieties. Very popular with stage crew, redcoats hostesses, compere's and managers alike. Janet, who was living in Hove, Brighton was the wife of the late Peter Butterworth, comedy actor and star of the 'Carry On Films'.

Thank you for your friendship Janet. God bless you and rest in peace."

John Nock (Johnny) - 7th May 1934 to 3rd May 2011

Click on the image below for a larger view

John Nock

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details, including this tribute from his widow, Lorraine;

"John passed away, suddenly at home aged 76.

He was a Butlins' redcoat/singer in the 60's; mainly at Pwllheli, during the summer season, and Brighton in the winter. He reached the dizzy heights of Chief Redcoat and thoroughly enjoyed his time working with his fellow entertainers and always relished the challenge of ensuring all holidaymakers went away happy. His experiences at Butlins stayed with him all of his life and he often regaled his family with stories of this fantastic period.

Butlins was also where he met Lorraine, his wife of nearly 42 years; she ,too, was a redcoat at Pwllheli, during this time.

In his later life, John was a sales manager and when he retired was happy to be a husband to Lorraine, father to Simon and Richard, Grandpa to Samuel and father-in-law to Lottie. He also leaves behind Joseph, whom he never met due to his untimely death last month."

Ron also added his own memories of Johnny;

"It was in 1963 when, as an Assistant Entertainment Manager working under Bill Martin, I met Johnny but sadly our association only lasted about three weeks before I was transferred to Filey for the remainder of that season. It was in 1967 when I returned there as Entertainment Manager that I met Lorraine.

1963 was I believe Johnny's first season and he struck me as a first class Redcoat, tall, handsome and a most likeable chap. I was not a bit surprised to hear later that he had become Chief Redcoat and went on to do more seasons. Lorraine, whom he obviously met there, was one of the Redcoats I inherited from Bill Martin in 1967. Sadly she only worked for me for one season and I presume she met up again with Johnny.

Many years passed then, at the Redcoat Reunion held at Folkestone, Kent in April 2006 I found myself standing behind John & Lorraine in the queue at reception waiting to book-in. I was able to recognise both immediately as neither he nor Lorraine had changed much.

I was proud to have known John albeit for a short period of time and my sincere condolences go out to Lorraine and family for this tragic loss. No doubt there will be many more tributes for this most popular guy.

Rest in peace Johnny you are wiser now than those of us left."

John Cooper - 1938 to 2010

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"'Big John' became a redcoat at Bognor in 1965, where he established himself as a very popular personality with both guests and members of the staff. There is a lot of talk these days about the "Good, old fashioned, general duty redcoat" - not a singer, nor a dancer but 'A People Meeter' and that is the very epitome of what John was - he loved having the opportunity to mix and mingle.

I had the privilege of being John's first entertainment manager and bringing him to Butlins, I was most impressed and was pleased to have him on the team again, just a short time later at Skegness. John also enjoyed a number of seasons at Clacton, Ayr and Barry Island. Where he is still fondly remembered by the redcoats and members of other departments.

Rest in peace 'Big' John, Rocky and your Butlin friends."

Jack Waller - 1911 to 1969

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"'Jack' was born John Simpson Waller and started working with Butlins as a butcher in the catering department, at Filey camp in 1948. He was selected, as a member of that department, to go to Fort Montague, on the Butlins Bahama's venture. After the Bahama's closed, Jack returned to Filey for a period before moving to Ayr camp to spend two years as head butcher. He returned to Filey to become deputy to the catering manager, Bill Sandy's, where I personally worked with him from 1957 to 1961. I also had the pleasure of working with Jack on a number of Christmas holidays, when he visited to assist Alf Reynolds at the Ocean hotel in Saldean, Brighton. We were together as route marshalls on the famous Butlin Walk from John O'Groats to Lands End. Jack was a highly respected member of the company for over 20 years and Bobby Butlin attended his funeral in Scarborough.

God Bless Jack and RIP."

Ronnie Hilton - 1926 to 2001

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"'Ronnie Hilton' was a stage name and he was born Adrian Hill in Kingston-Upon-Hull. During the Second World War Ronnie served in the Highland Light Infantry. On his demobilisation he became a fitter in a factory in Leeds. He started his vocal career under the name Ronnie Hilton in 1954. His most popular and best remembered numbers were "No Other Love" which became a best seller and "Tulips From Old Amsterdam" which sold over a million copies. Ronnie sang in three Royal Variety Performances. He started with Butlins when his phenomenal career began to wane due to the arrival of Rock 'N Roll. Ronnie did a number of seasons starring in the Resident Revue Shows and as a performer in the Sunday Variety shows. A friendly and lovable man. Goodnight dear friend and RIP."

Jack Wild - 4th November 1931 to 3rd August 2011

Jack was born in Ashton Under Lyne and passed away in Girvan, Scotland. Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

"Jack Wild is well remembered for his broad Lancashire accent which he never lost despite his many years in Scotland. He joined Butlin's as a Redcoat in the early 50's and worked at Ayr, Blackpool, Filey, Bognor, Clacton and Brighton rising through the ranks to Asst. Ents. Mngr, Dep. Ents. Mngr. and Entertainment Manager at Filey. It was at the Metropole Hotel, Blackpool where he worked with Sylvia who in 1961 became his wife and over the years they had a son, Anthony and a daughter, Alison.

In 1971, with two young children, it was decided to leave Butlin's and Jack became Entertainment Manager for the Girvan Town Council in Scotland. This soon changed when he became Tourism Officer for the Strathclyde Council working in Ayr.

It was in 1964 & 65 that I met and worked with Jack & Sylvia at Filey. In '64 he was Deputy to Frank Mansell and I was Assistant Manager, then in '65 he took over the role of Ents. Mngr. and I was his Deputy. We worked well together but after those two years we went our separate ways within the Company, me having developed a strong Lancashire accent too!

After we went our seperate ways, it was some years before we met up again - It was now 1972 and I was now responsible for the Show Jumping heats at the camps and when I went to Ayr for the heat there, Jack and Sylvia came with other members of the local Council as guests for the day. Every year thereafter I ensured that a VIP invitation went to them and following the days events we always spent the evening together having a wee dram or two!

Since his retirement Jack has suffered many years of ill health but he and Sylvia remained in Girvan.

A real genuine bloke you were Jack and it was a pleasure to work with you and I felt priviliged to know you. You are now out of pain Jack and much wiser that those of us who are left.

Rest in peace, from Ron Stanway"

Eamonn Andrews CBE - 1922 to 1987

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Eamonn was born in Synge Street, Dublin, Ireland, the same street as the famous playwright George Bernard Shaw. He began his career as an amateur boxer and went on to be a sports commentator. In 1950 he began presenting programmes for the BBC, being particularly well known for boxing commentaries and soon became one of televisions most popular presenters. He was later associated with a number of well known classics including:-

He was for a number of years "Entertainments Adviser" with Butlins. He was also a regular presenter of the early 'Miss World' pageants.
Sleep well Sir and RIP."

Frank Carson - 1926 to 2012

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Born Hugh Francis 'Frank' Carson in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Frank's family were of Italian descent with his grandmother hailing from Sicily. During the 1950’s Frank spent three years with the Parachute regiment.

Frank became a regular at Butlins after doing two seasons as a comedian in the Resident Revue at Pwllheli. He was a popular comic on the Butlin Sunday Variety Shows and Midnight Cabaret's. Frank's career started to flourish after winning TV's 'Opportunity Knocks'. He became one of the more prominent acts on 'The Comedians' and this led to similar shows such as the 'Wheel-Tappers and Shunters Club'. Frank performed a number of times before the Royal Family. He was known for his catch phrases 'It's a Cracker' and 'The Way I Tell 'Em'

God Bless dear friend and RIP."

Donald Cook - 1st March 1929 to 16th June 1961 & Lesley Cook - 11th October 1931 to 18th December 2011

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute. Please click on the images in the text for a larger view.

"It was in 1955 that I first met Don & Lesley at the Clacton on Sea camp where we were all Redcoats together. Don & Lesley already had several years under their belts having worked at Ayr before moving to Clacton. Don was known as the Camp Comic, dressing up in different costumes for various stunts he did as part of the Entertainment Programme. Lesley was the Junior Campers Leader.

Don & Lesley's wedding at Ayr, 1952It was in Ayr in 1952 that Don & Lesley became the first ever couple to be married in the Camp Church. This was the only Camp to have a purpose built Church unlike the other Camps which had just a part of a building set-aside as the Chapel. There was a Redcoat guard of honour as they left the Church and, Chief Redcoat, Charlie Fowles, was Best Man.

Don was quite frightening to new Redcoats as he would involve them in the various stunts he pulled during the week. Redcoats would end up in the Swimming Pool and/or the Boating Lake having been chucked-in fully clothed – anything to raise a laugh. My own involvement in this came on about the second day there, when Don asked if I could Dive into the Pool. I said that although I could swim I had never dived, other than off the side of the pool. Right he said you will be one of the Russian Olympic Diving team who will be visiting us during the swimming gala. Well, we were dressed up in old fashioned one piece swim suits and I would be known as 'Canon off the Red'. For someone who had never dived off a board it was quite terrifying – 'Horse & Jockey' (carrying another chap on my back); 'Triple up' I had one chap upside down on my back and another climbed up, stood in the middlemans arms which were around my waist and the top man held the feet of the middleman. The three of us would then dive off the 5m board, keeping together until we entered the water. Then there was a builders plank pushed out over the water from the top board – Don would stand on it to hold it in place and I would edge past him stand on the far end and prepare to do an elaborate dive – the Compere shouted up to Don who then stepped off the plank to ask what he had said – the plank just fell and me with it.

At the Sunday morning Get-together and March Past we would end up at the pool having told the campers they would be meeting the 'Kon Tiki Expedition' - A rowing boat with a fold-up chair hinged to the transom of the boat – sit in the chair, lean back and it was another ducking! And, so it went to the weekly Boating Regatta on the lake with lots of capsized boats and this time we scooped the mud off the bottom of the lake and smothered each other with it. Fortunately the sea was just the other side of the fence and we were able to go through the beach gate and wash it all off in the sea.

These were just three stunts throughout the week but there were others including a 'Red Indian Pow Wow' for the children and God help any unsuspecting Redcoat who happened to walk by as it was likely that 500 kids would be told "Fetch me his Trousers" and the pack would set off in pursuit chasing the poor redcoat until he hid in someone's chalet.

Lesley CookLesley, meanwhile, ran a very successful Juniors Section and was a very popular leader.

After a couple of seasons at Ayr (1952 & 3), Don & Lesley were moved to Clacton and were there from 1954 to 1958. It was my pleasure to work with them in 1955/6/7 and I still remember those scary moments on the 5mtr diving board and almost daily off-the-cuff stunts, all for the enjoyment of the holidaymakers. Anything to create a laugh!

Sadly, Donald died on 16th June 1961 so soon after his Butlin days had ended.

Lesley was later to marry again (Lesley Duerden) and it was just last November 2011 that, having initiated a 'Where are you now' page on the Butlins-memories.com website and putting Lesley Cook on the list of those I hoped to contact, I received a telephone call from her daughter to say that Lesley remembered me but she was in hospital having fallen and broken her hip. I wrote a long newsy letter and her grand daughter emailed to say how much Lesley had enjoyed it and would reply. Sadly, Lesley never did recover from the accident and died in hospital on 18th December 2011, just a few weeks later.

Thanks for the memories of those happy years we spent together, it was good to know you both and a pleasure to work with you.

Rest in peace. From 'Canon off the Red' alias Ron Stanway"

Professor Robert (Bob) Anderson - 25th September 1922 to 1st January 2012.

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute. Please click on the images in the text for a larger view.

Bob Anderson"Professor Bob Anderson was born in Gosport, Hampshire and later joined the Royal Marines as a PTI and this is where he studied most aspects of physical education and sport. He qualified as a coach in a number of disciplines including Swimming, Basketball, Gymnastics and Fencing. In 1949 the Royal Marines sent Bob for special coaching with the Amateur Fencing Assn. with a view to becoming the National Fencing Coach of GB. The sword became Bob's favourite and he went on to win the Royal Marines C'ships, the Inter Services C'ships: with the Foil 5 times, the Epee once and the Sabre 6 times. He was British Professional champion for four years in all three weapons and in 1950 at the Commonwealth Games he won two Gold and 3 Silver medals.

His first Olympic Games was in Helsinki in 1952 and he went on to compete and later Coach in no less than seven Olympic Games. Bob's athleticism and sword skills soon alerted the movie makers and Bob then went on to spend many years as a Stunt Man. It was in 1979 that he was offered the role of Sword Master for the 'Star Wars' films and to do this meant he had to resign as National Coach which he did. The Canadian Fencing Assn. quickly asked Bob to become their Technical Director and the Coaching Manual he put together is still used to this day. But, filming was now becoming a big part of Bob's life and just before going to Canada Bob worked on the film 'The Empire Strikes back' – standing in for David Prowse as 'Darth Vader', he sliced off the hand of 'Luke Skywalker'. He later appeared in or doubled in 'Return of The Jedi', 'The Mask of Zorrow', 'Moonraker', 'The Master of Ballantrae', 'Guns of Navarone', 'From Russia With Love', 'Casino Royale', 'Doctor Who' and many, many more. In total Bob appeared as a swordsman, stunt arranger, double and technical advisor in no less than 49 feature films or TV programmes spanning the years 1953 to 2010.

His link with Butlin's originates from the early 70's, 1973 to be exact, when it was felt that the Winter Weekends featured at the southern Butlin centres needed a boost and the idea was formed to have weekends with a special theme. All sorts of themes were used and at Bognor Regis in the spring of 1973, a Family Sports Weekend was advertised.

I was asked to put together a programme of sport coaching and to find the necessary Coaches. Accordingly I contacted the Sports Council and the CCPR (Central Council of Physical Recreation) and names and addresses of Sports Coaches were obtained, these being in addition to the coaches already used at Butlin's.

The coaching vacancies were soon filled, John Pulman, former World Snooker Champion agreed to come so too did, Olympic Judo Silver Medallist, Dave Starbrook, Professor Bob Anderson, British Olympic Fencing Coach along with Brian Pitman and Ken Pearson two colleagues from the Fencing Academy and many others covering, Badminton, Ladies Keep Fit, Gymnastics, Lawn Tennis, Table Tennis and so on.

Along with Alan Ridgway, Operations Manager for Entertainments, we soon put together the programme of activities for the weekend and the idea quickly paid off with about 5,000 energetic holiday-makers booking-in. The whole weekend was a big success and Alan ran more of these in following years.

The 1973 Coaches

The 1973 Coaches.
Dave Starbrook and Bob Anderson are pictured 6th & 7th from the left in the back row.

Bob AndersonBob did several weekends for Butlin's and he and his wife Pearl along with their daughter, Simone, took a liking to Felpham, the village next to Bognor Regis and bought a house opposite the Butlin camp where they lived ever since. In addition to the sporting activities at Butlin's, Bob was offered and enjoyed opportunities to join the celebrity judges at several Butlin competitions and over the years he was a firm favourite at the Holiday Princess, Glamorous Grandmother and Miss She semi-finals or Finals. He became a good friend to many of us in the Entertainment Dept. and was a very popular judge among the competitors.

Alan & I and everyone in the Entertainment Dept. send their sincere condolences to Pearl, Simone and Cherry. We are very proud to have known you Bob and so enjoyed your company on numerous occasions.

Your swords have been put away now Bob and all those energetic memories are put to rest.

Thank you Bob from us all at Butlin's

Rest in Peace."

Rod Rodgers - c1942 to 2012.

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Rod was born in Eckington, near Sheffield, and joined Butlins as a member of the catering department. Eventually becoming the legendary and highly popular Catering Manager of the Butlins Metropole hotel in Blackpool. Rod was very successful in this position and his management skills quickly led to an offer of the post of General Manager at the Butlin Ocean hotel, Saltdean, Brighton. He very soon made a reputation for himself by promoting large private functions in the quiet weeks during the run up to the Christmas period. He was rewarded for his excellent management abilities by being promoted to Divisional Executive of the Butlin hotel group. He later became Managing Director of the Grand Leisure hotels.

Rod leaves a devoted wife Lani (Svetlana) and children Sasha and Rod Junior.

Rod will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him. God bless you dear friend and rest in peace."

Jack King - c1946 to 1971

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Jack joined Butlins as a Redcoat at Minehead in 1963. He soon became a Compere Entertainer and remained at Minehead until taking up the position of Chief redcoat and Compere at the Butlin Ocean hotel Brighton in 1969, where he established himself with guests and members of the staff. He moved to Barry in the position of Redcoat Compere for the seasons 1970 and 1971. Jack was a popular Redcoat with campers and staff alike and a talented Compere and Entertainer. He sadly died at the young age of 27. R.I.P Jack and sleep well.

Jimmy Marshall - 1933 to 1996

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Jimmy was from the Doncaster area and passed away following a heart attack at just 63 years old. Jimmy joined Butlins as a redcoat at the Cliftonville hotels in the early 1960s. Establishing himself as a popular and very funny comedian, Jimmy went on to do a great many spots on television, a number of them being 'Summertime Specials'. These appearances led to regular appearances on TVs popular 'Wheel Tappers and Shunters' with Colin Crompton and Bernard Manning. He also performed in the legendary 'The Comedians'. Jimmy was a regular on Butlins Sunday Variety shows for a number of years.

Sleep well old friend and RIP."

Pat (Patsy) Brownhill - 20th February 1932 to 10th October 2008

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

"A lassie from Newton Heath Nr Manchester, Pat became a Redcoat at Clacton on Sea in 1955 and went to complete 5 seasons there, retiring to get married at the end of 1959 season. I worked with Patsy, as she liked to be called then, for the years 1955 to 57 but then when I was moved to Pwllheli we never met-up again.

Pat enjoyed every minute of her work at Butlin's and she was particularly pleased to be at Clacton in 1958 which saw three new Redcoats join, namely, Roy Hudd, Roy Castle and Dave O'Mahoney – Dave went on to become Dave Allen. Another 1958 new member of the Entertainments team was Cliff Richard, who along with his group the 'Drifters' were booked to play in the South Seas bar.

Following her days at Clacton, Pat remained in the South, living near Croydon and in 1978 she became a Pub landlady where she was able to use the knowledge gained at Butlin's to ensure her customers of a happy time.

Pat had two daughters, Melanie who was born in July 1960 and, Louise born in 1970. In later years she was blessed with four Grandchildren, Aleisha, Ethan, Luke and Scarlett.

It was a pleasure to know you Pat all those years ago and although you and I were never in the same 'House' we were both part of a very happy team. My sincere thanks to, Melanie for making contact with me.

Rest in peace, Patsy."

Michael McDonna - dates unknown

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Michael was an established repertory actor and became the general manager of the Forbes Russel Repertory Company, who performed mainly on the Butlin Camps. Michael later bought out and took over the running of this company, renaming it The Albany Players. They performed most successfully on all the Butlin camps for a number of years. He was a fine actor, brilliant producer and a most charming man.

Remembered with great affection dear friend. R.I.P"

David Kennington - dates unknown

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"David was very experienced in the world of theatre, a fine actor and producer of the Butlin Repertory plays. He was Michael McDonna's partner in life and in business for many years. David was the senior producer and a leading actor for the Forbes Russell Repertory Company and continued in that position when it became The Albany Players. An excellent actor, meticulous producer and a lovely man.

Rest in peace dear friend."

Ken Gardner - 1932 to 1989

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Ken, who was a former heavyweight boxer from Wales, joined Butlins as a Redcoat in the early 1950s. He transferred to Filey camp in the mid fifties to become a Redcoat Boxing Coach and was a member of the three man team. The others were Lightweight Harry Griver and Welterweight Rocky Mason. Ken spent a number of years on various Butlin camps, taking early retirement to Spain in 1987, when he went to live near Alicante with wife Marlene. Sadly, after just two years, Ken passed away aged just 57.

A good Redcoat, a great and proud Welshman and a talented boxer. RIP Old friend."

Bob Hastings - died 6th May 2000

Thanks to Glenis Hastings for providing the following details & tribute;

"Bob Hastings was chief redcoat at Clacton, I met him in 1960 where I was a De Vere dancer. We married in 1961, came to Bognor and had 40 very happy years together. After leaving Butlins he went into selling, ending up as regional sales manager for Brook Bond Tea Company. We have 2 great sons and 4 amazing grandchildren. I still live in the Bognor area. Bob died on 6th May 2000, which was our 39th Wedding Anniversary."

Frankie Bull - 1945 to 2013

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Frankie was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, where he would later discover a love of music and develop a talent for playing musical instruments, his main one being the trumpet. He became a Butlin Redcoat, working at Pwllheli in 1963, '64 and '65, where he met his wife, also a Redcoat, from Australia. Frankie progressed to compering the Lucky Dip Show in 1965. He was always a popular and talented Redcoat with an enormous sense of humour. He left to live in Australia at the end of the summer season, 1965. In 2011 Frankie returned to England to attend a Butlin Reunion, at the Scarborough Grand Hotel, where he presented his final Butlin performance in the role of Billy Bouncer.

God bless you dear friend and RIP."

A number of photos from Frankie's years as a Redcoat can be found here

John Wilson - 1940 to 2013

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"John became a Redcoat in circa 1962 and lost no time becoming popular with both guests and members of the staff. As a General Duty Redcoat John was active on the various competitions and contests, enjoying the ballroom competitions in particular; "encouraging" the faint hearted to participate.

John became a permanent member of staff with his transfer to the Ocean Hotel Brighton, in the winter of 1966. John became a member of the management team the following summer, in the position of assistant entertainment manager at Skegness. He returned to the Ocean Hotel for the winter and the following season saw him as assistant entertainment manager at Minehead. John took up the position of Entertainment Manager at Barry Island in 1972 remaining there a number of years until Barry's closure.

"A true gent in every sense of the word!" Respected and revered by members of his team.

God Bless dear friend. R.I.P"

Dave Sheard - 1934 to 2014

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Dave was a member of the very popular musical group "The Verdi Trio". Ken Idle was on double bass, Mavis Idle on piano accordion, Dave played the drums and all three of them sang. They played the camps during the summer and hotels in the winter. They played in the bars and on the shows and were Redcoat entertainers at the opening of Minehead camp in 1962. The trio split up shortly after this with Ken and Dave going onto management. Dave was an assistant entertainment manager at Pwllheli in 1964 and later became a popular manager at Butlins Metropole, Blackpool. He has two sons living in America.

Goodnight and God Bless dear friend and RIP."

Roger Ebben - 1947 to 2014

Thanks to Rocky Mason for providing the following details & tribute;

"Roger sadly passed away in July aged just 67 years. Roger was a Radio Butlin Redcoat Announcer at Minehead in 1967 and established himself as a very popular personality with both staff and guests alike. He was very much loved by members of the entertainment staff. Roger later went to live in Denmark.

You will be missed enormously Roger. Sleep well and RIP."

Robert (Bob) William Just - 25th November 1932 to 29th December 2014

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

Bob Just"Bob Just only worked for Butlin's for a couple of seasons, but was one of a valuable team of College students who spent their summer vacation at either the Camps or Hotels. These students were immensely important to Butlin's as their availability coincided with the peak season, returning to College when the Butlin numbers dropped toward the end of season.

In 1957 Bob was a Redcoat at Butlin's, Cliftonville Hotels. With his sporting and fitness background he was somewhat wasted there. Nevertheless, he was a very popular 'Red' and used his skills well. For his second season (1958) he asked to be transferred to a Camp where his sporting ability would be put to better use. He was allocated to Clacton-on-Sea the same year as I was moved from Clacton to Pwllheli. Our friendship, however, did not start until over 40 years later.

I had spent the previous four seasons at Clacton, the latter two as House Captain. The House Hostess was a lovely lass from Lancashire called Sheila MacKenzie. Sheila had teaching experience herself so it was probably destiny that brought her and Bob together. Their mutual outgoing personalities soon sparked a friendship and the rest is history as they say! 1958 was to be their last season as they were married in October that year, after which they resumed their teaching careers.

They set up home in Ilford, Essex, later moving to Romford where Bob taught Secondary Education at several Schools in Essex. He became Deputy Headmaster and later took on the role of Director of Studies in which he organised the school academic curriculum. He had a natural affinity with young people and was responsible for organising and leading Outward Bound courses for his students. He taught survival techniques and particularly enjoyed organising ski-ing trips. Bob was a sportsman through and through, and he represented London, in France 1957, in Gymnastics.

Bob & Sheila went on to have two lovely daughters, Julie and Amanda, both of whom live in Cornwall.

The years rolled by and it was in 2002 that I would eventually meet Bob and be reunited with Sheila. It was the Butlin Redcoat Reunion at the Ocean Hotel that brought us together and since then we have shared many happy times.

I consider it a privilege to have been considered as one of Bob's many friends. It is a pleasure to pen these few words about one of the nicest men I have ever met. I only wish that we had met many years earlier."

Sheila Just nee MacKenzie - 10th August 1937 to 3rd December 2015

Thanks to Ron Stanway, former General Manager, Entertainment & Promotions, Butlin's Ltd, for providing the following details & tribute;

Sheila Just"Sheila MacKenzie was born in Maghull a district of Liverpool, the eldest of three children, a sister Pauline and a brother John. After her school years Sheila worked as a Model and Retail Assistant for 'Etam', later changing direction to become a Secretary. During this time she became friendly with a Butlin Redcoat, Lee Haines (now Parker) whose enthusiasm for the job prompted Sheila to apply.

In May 1956 she joined the Entertainment Department at Clacton on Sea where I was already established in my third season there as a 'House Captain'. Sheila joined us and with her infectious personality was soon promoted to 'House Hostess' where we worked well together for the remainder of that season and the following season too. We were unaware then that I would be moved to Pwllheli for the 1958 season and that it was to be many years before we met again.

Invited back for the next season 1958, Sheila returned and it was then she met Bob Just, a qualified teacher who had worked the previous season as a Redcoat at the Butlin Cliftonville Hotels. Bob, whose particular speciality was sport and Gymnastics in particular had requested a move to a Camp for the 1958 season and was duly sent to Clacton on Sea where his talents would be more appropriate.

He was in good company when two other young men arrived at the camp on the same day to join the Entertainment Team. Ready to wear the Red Jacket was a young man called Roy Hudd. The other was a pop vocalist called Cliff Richard who, with his own Group called the 'Drifters' were employed there to play in the new Rock 'n Roll Ballroom for what was probably their first professional engagement.

Bob & Sheila spent a successful season together at the end of which they were married on 25th October 1958 at All Saints Church, Goodmayes, Essex, after which they both pursued a career in teaching. Two daughters completed their family, Julie, born 4th June 1960 and Amanda on 14th February 1963.

It was over 40 years later, at a Redcoat Reunion at Scarborough in 2004 that I had the pleasure of meeting Bob for the first time, and the opportunity to meet up with Sheila once again. Since then we have enjoyed a close friendship and one special occasion was the privilege of being invited to their 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration held at Warner's Littlecote House Hotel – a wonderful opportunity to reminisce. It also brought together others from those Clacton days – Henri Rouah, Valerie Rough (nee) Leopard and Lee Parker (nee Haines).

After medical checks in 2014, both Sheila and Bob were tragically diagnosed with terminal Cancer. Bob lost his battle a year later and after a long, painful fight, Sheila joined him on 3rd December 2015.

Rest in peace together dear friends and thanks for the memories.

Ron & Sheila Stanway."

Joan Hinde, Britain's First Lady of the Trumpet - 21st October 1933 to 22nd January 2015

Thanks to Ron Stanway for providing the following details & tribute;

"Born in Eckington, Derbyshire, just over the border from South Yorkshire which would explain why in later years Joan's accent gave the impression she was a Yorkshire lass!

Joan HindeShe was only 6 years old when her uncle took her to a Brass Band concert at which he was the Band Conductor. He offered her a choice of several instruments from which she chose a cornet and the rest is history so they say! Just one week later she was playing "I'll Walk Beside You" and after a further two weeks she delighted the audience when she played at one of her uncle's concerts. When she was 10 she was spotted by a BBC executive and within a month was playing in her first broadcast on Children's Hour. Whilst still a schoolgirl Joan's career was moving forward quickly with regular broadcasts on such programmes as Variety Bandbox, Variety Fanfare, Saturday Night Out and Workers Playtime. She left school at 15 and within a few weeks was on the road with Elsie & Doris Waters but by now was turning more towards the trumpet.

Joan never looked back and a career which spanned over half a century was rapidly building up. In the years to come she appeared with some of the biggest names in show business - Max Bygraves, Harry Secombe, Ken Dodd, Tommy Trinder, Roy Hudd, Vera Lynn, Benny Hill, Gracie Fields, Frankie Howard to name but a few. Appearing all over Gt. Britain, she went on to entertain the troops in Cyprus, Aden, The Falkland Islands and N. Ireland.

It was in 1963 that Joan first appeared in a summer season Resident Revue Company at Butlin's, Pwllheli. Following this she enjoyed a further four seasons at other Butlin sites and also appeared as a visiting artiste on the Sunday Night Variety shows.

In 1958 when I was moved from Clacton to Pwllheli, my chalet mate had already arrived and this was when I first met Ken Hopson and we were to become firm friends and Butlin colleagues for many years. We both eventually left 'Red & Whites' behind us, becoming Assistant Entertainment Managers then Entertainment Managers. It was in 1964 when Ken was the A.E.M. at Clacton that he met this young lady Trumpeter who spent the summer there in the Resident Revue Company and as they say in Show Business, 'This would be the start of something big'. It was 3 years later in November 1966 that they were married in Joan's home town of Eckington a day we were privileged to share. Soon after this Ken moved to the Butlin Head Office in London and set up home in Kent. In 1971 they were blessed with the arrival of daughter Claire and soon after, when the Butlin Head Office moved to Bognor Regis, they relocated there.

Right to the end Joan played to a 'Full House' when over 150 people paid their respects at her funeral. Mourners included Ken Dodd, Roy Hudd and several of her fellow Lady Ratlings.

To Ken & Joan
It was a pleasure to know you Joan and we miss you.
We have such happy memories of times together
in particular your quick wit and amusing stories.
We laughed a lot, we cried sometimes but we will always treasure our lasting friendship.
Farewell dear friend your memory will live on.
Ron & Sheila Stanway"

Gerry Maxin - 20th May 1933 to 5th November 2015

Thanks to Ron Stanway, former General Manager, Entertainment & Promotions for Butlin's Ltd for providing the following details & tribute;

"The date provides the epitaph: 'He went out with a bang'

Gerry Maxin Gerry MaxinPursuing a career in catering, having completed his college course, Gerry changed direction when he became involved with entertainment at some of the venues at which he worked. It was in 1954 when he decided to apply to Butlin's for work as a Redcoat. A successful interview led to a position as General Duty Redcoat at Filey in the May of that year. It was in this decade that Filey had several 'showbiz hopefuls' all wanting to learn the business, join the ranks of the Redcoats, namely; Charlie Drake, Des O'Connor, Jimmy Perry, David Croft and others.

Gerry enjoyed 3 seasons at Filey and during the winter months was part of the 50 or so Redcoats engaged to host the annual Butlin's Reunion at the Royal Albert Hall. I probably met Gerry there but being among so many others neither of us, 50 years later, could remember. We eventually met in 2004 at a Butlin Redcoat reunion at Scarborough, after which our friendship really began. We have met several times since and Gerry has often been quoted as saying that working for Butlin's was the best, most satisfying and enjoyable job he ever had.

Others he remembered from the mid 50's were Georgie Outram, an ex Army PTI. With Georgie's remarkable agility he changed the face of Square Dancing forever with the Butlin Square Dancing team that toured the country during the winter months. Harry Griver was another Filey Redcoat with whom Gerry kept in touch along with Colin 'Rocky' Mason who, back in the mid 50's was the Redcoat Boxing Instructor at Filey. The 'final curtain' came down on this particular friendship when both Gerry and Rocky passed away within a week of each other in November 2015. (see Rocky's obituary here.)

When his Butlin days were over Gerry settled into the world of entertainment working for the M.A.M. Theatrical Agency. This brought him into contact with many Stars and touring artistes in shows throughout Britain. He moved to a managerial position with the Agency and became responsible for shows, one of which, 'Riverdance', ran for 3 years. In 1963 Gerry married Merle and they had a daughter, Sarah who later presented them with two grandsons who became the light of their life. Grandsons, Sam is now 18 years old and Daniel is 14yrs.

It is with great sadness I write this obituary to Gerry as in the last 10 years we communicated on a regular basis and we got together whenever circumstances allowed. Sheila and I valued his friendship and company especially his infectious sense of humour. A telephone call from Gerry was always fun, uplifting and memorable. Gerry was one of the nicest men we ever met and regret that our paths had not crossed much earlier.

Rest in peace dear friend
Ron & Sheila Stanway"

Valerie (Vicky) Knibbs (nee Round) - February 1942 to 17th November 2015

Thanks to Ron Stanway, a fellow Brummie, for providing the following details & tribute;

"Valerie was born in Birmingham in 1942 one of three children, a brother and a sister. After leaving school she worked as a telephonist for what was then the GPO.

With Val's outgoing personality and singing ability she applied to Butlin's for work as a Redcoat Radio Butlin Announcer. She was accepted and allocated to the Butlin's Holiday Camp at Filey for the 1961 summer season. After a very successful season she was retained for the winter moving on to the Ocean Hotel at Brighton, where she and I met and enjoyed a very happy winter there as part of a very friendly Entertainments Team.

In the summer of 1962 and back at Filey, Val renewed a friendship with Mike Knibbs, the drummer with the Fred Percival Dance Band. At the end of the summer season they moved North and enjoyed success, Mike with a band and Val, singing in the Northern Clubs. In June 1963 and, as Mike was offered work in Jersey, they were married in Wandsworth Town Hall, London, and spent a successful season in the Channel Islands.

When they eventually returned to the mainland they set up home in Kent where Mike continued to find work as a musician and Valerie became Managing Director of two companies which gave her the opportunity to enjoy considerable travel.

Valerie leaves husband Mike, two daughters, Michelle and Amanda, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren.

I had the pleasure of catching up with Val and Mike again on three occasions in recent years during which we did a great deal of reminiscing. It was in May 2015 that Val was diagnosed with Cancer, passing away 6 months later on November 17th 2015.

She made all her own arrangements for her funeral and I am told also, that she would have been delighted to see some of her old Butlin colleagues attending her funeral, some proudly wearing their trademark Red & Whites.

Thank you for your friendship.

Jim Meadowcroft (Snooker Professional) - 15th December 1946 to 25th September 2015

Thanks to Ron Stanway, former General Manager, Entertainment & Promotions for Butlin's Ltd for providing the following details & tribute;

"I regret that I do not remember exactly which year it was but I am quite sure that mid 70' s was about the time that I received a hand written letter at the office. The writer said that his name was Jim Meadowcroft and that he had recently become a Snooker Professional playing in the top competitions. He stated that he and others like him would welcome the opportunity to find useful work during the close season of Snooker and would Butlin's be interested in having Professional Coaching at the camps throughout the summer season.

Snooker was enjoying considerable TV and publicity at the time and a meeting with Jim was quickly set up. He said that he would be able to help in obtaining coaches if required and added that we could have from the ranks of the up and coming professionals a Resident Coach at each camp for the whole season. We then asked if, to add spice to the plan, Top Professionals could be engaged, depending where they lived, to visit their nearest camps. This would be for say two days per week at each, where they could help with the coaching and also play an exhibition match with the Resident Pro. Each of these Touring Pros., would visit two, maybe three camps every week of the season.

Jim worked extremely fast and was able to find players for the residential position with a few extra players to cover holidays etc. Similarly the Touring positions were filled again with family holidays covered. The final schedule for the Touring Pro's which was put into operation was;
Player 1. Living in Lincolnshire covered Filey, Skegness and Clacton.
Player 2. Living in the South Wales/Bristol area covered Bognor Regis, Minehead and Barry.
Player 3. Jim Meadowcroft himself, living in Lancashire, covered Ayr and Pwllheli.

The arrangement worked very well indeed and Butlin guests were able to enjoy seeing players like David (The Silver Fox) Taylor, John Virgo, Ray Reardon, Ray Edmonds (Amateur Champion), Willie Thorne and Terry Griffiths. This Snooker promotion ran for many years thanks to Jim Meadowcroft.

Not the usual sort of piece to have in an Obituary but Jim worked so hard on our behalf that he became a part of the Butlin Legends whose name will be remembered.

Having moved home just a few years ago and now living in N.Wales I had hoped to see Jim again at the new 'Grand Prix' Championship held in Llandudno last year. Sadly however, his illness worsened and he was unable to meet me and it was his daughter Jan, who some weeks later telephoned to say that her Dad had died and he had often spoken of his high regard for the Butlin Managers he had met at the various camps and the friendships forged over the years.

I extend my grateful thanks to Jim for the friendship brought by that 'Hand Written Letter' and say that, Jim you have played your final frame and you have left behind a vast number of fans who will remember that lovely broad Lancashire accent and warm personality.

Thank you Jim and goodbye for now!
Ron Stanway"

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