CAROL TURNER (nee Lupton)
14th January 1942 - 2nd March 2012
Carol was born Carol Mary Lupton, on 14 January 1942, in Redhill. She lived with the family in Coulsdon until they moved to Wallasey, in the Wirral, in 1945. One year later and the family moved again, this time just the short distance to Liverpool. There, Carol was educated at St. Edmund's College, and attended ballet and dancing lessons throughout her early years. One production she appeared in was "Dancing Through" - a display of ballet and cabaret - at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton, in November 1947.
In the 1950s, at the local youth club in Allerton, she met a young John Lennon, (Yes! the John Lennon) a shy retiring type who kept himself to himself. She and a friend used to have a local round, on which they would collect the weekly "club money." By coincidence, one of the calls on the round was to Paul McCartney's dad.
She sometimes sang with "The Spinners" folk group, at the famous Cavern Club. This was before the "Mersey Beat" days. She met Lonnie Donegan, and got to know Tommy Steele when he was appearing in the pantomime "Cinderella" at the Liverpool Empire, as 'Buttons,' though it was the chap who played the pantomime dame who she ended up going out with for a short while.
During her late teens she followed her dreams, and went to London. Through her dancing talents, Carol got a job as a 'Bluebell Girl,' and went to dance with them at the world-famous Lido de Paris.
Having got the taste for show business, in the early 1960s she became a Butlins' Redcoat, working mainly at the Ocean Hotel, in Saltdean, Brighton. Here she became friends with the singing group "The Springfields," who were a regular act there. The girl in the group was Mary O'Brien, who was very soon to go solo, and change her name to 'Dusty Springfield.'
Carol met other famous names who started as Redcoats, such as Freddie "Parrot Face" Davies and Irish comedian Dave O'Mahoney (The latter later changed his name to Dave Allen). She also knew Jimmy Tarbuck very well, and the two of them would trade stories about the people they knew in Liverpool.
In later life, Carol and her husband would often return to the Ocean Hotel for weekends and short breaks, where they would occasionally bump into friends she had first met as Redcoats, and even some former guests she had got to know during her time there.
As Carol reached her late fifties, arthritis gradually began to take hold and she needed both hips to be replaced. But that wouldn't stop her racing around the shops on her mobility scooter, which also allowed her to attend many family events, which she otherwise may not have been able to manage.
She passed away at Abbey Chase nursing home in Chertsey, on 2nd March 2012 after a two-year-long battle with cancer.
Carol will always be remembered with fond and loving memories as a person who would make friends with everyone she came into contact with, and to whom she was always generous, thoughtful, and giving.
John Lupton (brother)
To see Carol Lupton in her Redcoat days, click on this link.
Neville (Nev) Goodwin, was born in Wombwell, Barnsley, South Yorkshire. When having completed a modest education left school to do, as most did from that area and generation (pre Margaret Thatcher), and entered employment in the mining industry.
Abandoning the life of mining, in 1969 he went to work for Butlins in Pwllheli as a chair lift attendant. It was during this time that he entered and won the Butlins Staff Talent Show, part of the prize being a contract to return the following year as a Redcoat.
The year 1970 is when I enter the story, the year I also became a Redcoat at Pwlhelli. Nev and I were a similar sort of act both wanting to be comedy/impressionists. This presented a problem for our entertainments manager, Ron Stanway, and the resident comedian/compere - the late and, in our opinion, great Terry Dale. Who would they use in the much coveted Redcoat Show comedy spot? The answer was simple: turn us into a comedy double-act. Nev always said we were a unique comedy act, being the only double-act consisting of two straight men!!
[See Butlins Pwllheli Redcoats 1970 team photo]
We left Butlins in the autumn of 1970 and set off into the harsh world of the Working Men's Club circuit, around the north of England. Nev stayed with me at my family home in Widnes as we learnt our craft during the end of 1970 and beginning of 1971, in the often hostile environment of those clubs.
At times when we were not working, Nev would catch a bus over to Altrincham, to go and see his girlfriend Patricia, whom he had met while she also was working at Pwllheli, on the reception desk.
We split the act in 1971, Nev wanting to return to Pwllheli to be with Patricia - the wisest move he ever made; and me to try and carve out a career as a solo act. Nev and Pat became inseparable and, after Pwllheli, also completed seasons at the Metropole Hotel in Blackpool, again for the old firm Butlins. It was in Blackpool that they were married, and I was very proud to be Nev's, best man.
They settled in Manchester and Nev set out as an act again on the club circuit. At this time he also did some extra work for the local Granada TV Studios, picking up a lucrative part in a TV advert with the snooker star Jimmy White, for Trebor Soft Mints. He also held a regular walk-on part as the postman in Coronation Street.
His last TV appearance was on the antiques program Flog It. Pat had inherited an antique blue and white plate, which they had taken along for valuation, and the presenter Paul Martin gave his opinion of the piece saying it was valuable and they would indeed like to "flog it" on the show. It was at this point that Nev chipped in saying to Pat, "You had better be careful taking it home on your bike." Paul Martin was horrified saying, "You brought that valuable item here on a bicycle?" so Pat had to explain, "No! that's just Nev's dry sense of humour at work," to which Paul Martin replied, with relief, "Is he always like this?" To which the answer was "Yes," and I thank the Lord that he was. A remarkable funny man and human being. I will sadly miss him, as will all who ever shared his company.
Neville leaves behind his beloved wife Pat, daughter Jennifer, and two sons - Darren and James, and our thoughts are with them.
(posted 6th March 2012)
Donald Cook (1st March 1929 - 16th June 1961)
Lesley Cook (11th October 1931 – 18th December 2011)
A tribute, by Ron Stanway
It was in 1955 that I first met Don & Lesley at the Clacton-on-Sea Butlins camp, where we were 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; while Lesley was the Junior Campers Leader.
It was at 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 COOK and LESLEY COOK
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 boating lake, having been chucked-in fully clothed – anything to raise a laugh. My own involvement in this came on or 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 dressed up in old-fashioned one-piece swim-suits, and I was known as ‘Cannonoff 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 middleman’s 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 5 metre board, keeping together until we entered the water.
Then there was the gag with a builder’s 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. When the compere shouted up to Don, he would step off the plank to ask what he had said – and the plank, and me along with it, would fall into the pool.
At the Sunday morning 'Get-together' and 'March Past' we would end up gathering 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.
These were just three stunts throughout the week, but there were others including a ‘Red Indian pow-wow’ for the children. God help any unsuspecting Redcoat who happened to walk by, as it was likely that 500 kids would be told, “Fetch me his Trousers,” at which command the pack would set off in pursuit, chasing the poor Redcoat until he hid in someone’s chalet.
Lesley meantime ran a very successful Juniors’ Section, where she was a very popular leader.
After a couple of seasons at Ayr (1952 & 53), Don & Lesley were moved to Clacton, where they stayed 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 high diving board, and the 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 Butlins days had ended. Lesley was later to marry again (and became Lesley Duerden). It was just 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 was in hospital after having fallen and broken her hip. I wrote a long newsy letter and her granddaughter 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.
To Don & Lesley I say, "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!
“Cannonoff the Red” alias Ron Stanway
(posted 4th March 2012)
For further photos of Don, Lesley, and Ron during those happy times together at Clacton, see:
JOHNNY NOCK - R.I.P.
A Tribute from Lorraine Nock.
John passed away, suddenly at home aged 76.
He was a Butlins' Redcoat-singer in the sixties - mainly at Pwllheli, during the summer, 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. 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 Stanway adds 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 met there, was one of the Redcoats I inherited from Bill Martin in 1967. Sadly, she only worked for me for one season. 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 who are left.
DONALD 'DEREK' LAURENCE - R.I.P.
(21st April 1937 - 9th July 2010)
Born in Edinburgh, Del, as he came to be 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 Butlins Ayr, in 1957, that these combined talents 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 friendship of some of his teammates 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, combined with 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, Del 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. Del's love of sport was inherited by older son, Craig, who is now a Professional Golfer. 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 when Dee gave him the name of 'Del'. In his Eulogy, Craig revealed that the reason his father preferred to be known as Derek rather than Donald was that, being a Scotsman, he felt he would be constantly asked: 'Donald where's your troosers?'
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.
Ron Stanway (28 July 2010)
IRISH JESSON - R.I.P.
It is with deep sadness that I have to report the passing of Irish Jesson. 'Irish' was one half of 'Paddy and Irish' - who worked numerous years and Camps with Butlins. Earlier in their career they had toured the Variety halls as 'Jesson & Farrelly' - a song and dance act.
I had the pleasure of working under Paddy and Irish during my 1973 and '74 seasons at Skegness, and they gave me all my stage breaks, for which I will be ever-grateful. I was pleased that, in 1996, I travelled to Minehead, and met up with them both at their home, and also had a meal with them on the Butlins Minehead Camp, where I was able to pass on my gratitude.
When working on the Camps, Irish would never just walk into a room - she would "make an entrance." She would open the door and shout at the top of her voice "Nuts - whole hazel nuts. Ooooh!" (As per the Cadbury's chocolate advert of the time.) Only when everyone had turned around to see who was shouting, would she enter.
I always thought of her as 'the white Eartha Kitt.' She would adopt that sultry, laid-back, temptress style in the 'Roaring Twenties Show, when singing I'm in Mood For Love (simply because you're near me.) Lying on the stage, with one arm crooked at the elbow holding up her head, and one leg waving in the air, in suggestive movements, she never failed to bring the house down. It was a brilliant pastiche, and the audiences loved her.
Ron Stanway said of them:
I first met 'Paddy & Irish' at Pwllheli in 1958. They were contracted as 'Redcoat Entertainers,' whilst I was just a GD Redcoat. They were at Pwllheli 58/59/61 - don't know about '60. Then, when I went back to Pwllheli as Ents. Mngr. in 67, I asked for Paddy to be my Assistant, and he worked for me in this capacity in 67/68/69, but wasn't with me in '70.
After the 1970 season I went to Head Office, and have no record of P & I's whereabouts - though I do know that, for at least one season, he was Ents. Mngr. at Mosney. [EDITOR: Paddy & Irish were at Filey in 1972, and Skegness in 1973, 74, 75, and 76]. When they retired, they went to live in Minehead. Paddy died in 1999 aged 81].
GEORGE OUTRAM - R.I.P.
Both will be sorely missed.
17 November 2008
RUSS HAMILTON R.I.P. (1932 - 2008)
Russ Hamilton: Butlins Redcoat
The history of pop music is littered with 'one-hit wonders,' but the story of Russ Hamilton is one of the strangest. To make the case even more unusual, his single successful record gave him two different hit songs on opposite sides of the Atlantic: in his native Britain, "We Will Make Love" made number two in the charts but, in America, it was the B-side, Rainbow, which made the top ten.
Born Ronald Hulme in Liverpool in 1932, he took a job as a Redcoat at the Butlins Holiday Hotel in Blackpool, in 1956, to escape a dull life as a cost clerk. Swept along by the skiffle craze he had, by then, begun playing guitar and writing songs. After Billy Butlin heard him singing at a party for Butlins' staff, he asked him to record a song for use as a wake-up call in his holiday camps.
Arrangements were made for the recording with the Oriole label, which was sufficiently impressed to sign him for further recordings. In early 1957, he duly cut two songs for the label, backed by the Mike Sammes Singers and the Johnny Gregory Orchestra. One of them was We Will Make Love. Despite the risqué title, the song, which was written for a former girlfriend, was an innocent romantic waltz. The other, intended as the B-side, was a whimsical ballad Rainbow.
The record was released under the name 'Russ Hamilton,' and he spent the summer touring Butlins' holiday camps building a fan base, as he sung his songs and judged amateur skiffle contests. Coupled with appearances on BBC TV's Six-Five Special, by the beginning of August 1957, this had helped We Will Make Love rise to number two in the British charts, only kept from the top spot by Elvis Presley's All Shook Up.
In America, the record was 'flipped' so that Rainbow became the A-side. It took the Liverpudlian to number four in the Billboard chart, six years before the Beatles' first American hit led to the so-called 'British invasion'. Yet Hamilton was never able to repeat his success. The follow-up, Wedding Ring struggled to number 20 in Britain in October 1957 but he never bothered the charts again, despite releasing another 15 singles.
In later years, he was embittered and claimed that he had not only been denied a certain number one, but that he had also been swindled out of 'millions' by unscrupulous record companies. By the end of his life, he was living in reduced circumstances in a council flat. Russ Hamilton was born on January 19, 1932 in Liverpool. He died on October 11, aged 76
The above item appeared in the TimesOnline
6 January 2009
RON STANWAY has added his own memories of Russ:
Russ Hamilton: real name Ronnie Hulme, started work with Butlins as a Junior Campers' Redcoat, at the Metropole Hotel Blackpool - in about 1956. There he used to strum his guitar and sing to the children, and was well liked as 'Uncle Russ.' I think it was in the same year that he wrote two songs and both these were recorded on one disc. The 'A-side' We Will Make Love, quickly climbed the charts in the UK, while the song on the reverse side - Rainbow - quickly went to the top in the USA.
The following year 1957, because of his new popularity, he was sent to Clacton as a Redcoat Entertainer and, from there, he would visit other camps for a few days at a time. During the time at Clacton he would be detailed for the Sing-Song in the Jolly Roger Bar and his backing group was me (Ron Stanway) on the Tea-chest bass (other Reds were used for this too) and at the piano was our resident sing-song pianist, Al Chinnery. Every time we played We Will Make Love the audience went wild. Russ was obviously delighted and was quite open in that, when he had time off during the day, he would walk into Clacton town, visiting all the record shops and ask for a copy of We Will Make Love just to hear the shop assistant say: 'I'm sorry, sir, we've sold out!'
Russ became one of the few, if not the only one, to have a Gold Disc for both sides of one record - the A-side Gold in the UK, and the B-side Gold in USA.
He left Butlins after the 1957 season and toured the world, enjoying his success. Eventually, however, with no other recording successes, he came back to the UK and, in 1966, completed a full circle by returning to the Metropole Hotel as Entertainment Manager. He was EM there for three seasons: 1966/67/68.
I attach a picture of myself with Russ (wearing a tie) and two redcoat girls, Jan and Tulah taken at Clacton in 1957.