Dear Alan, I had the great fortune to stumble on your Redcoats Reunited website today. I absolutely love it. When I saw your photo I recognised you instantly, including Basil Brush - although you won't remember me out of the hundreds of children you would have entertained over your time at Butlins. I was one of three children who, in the early 70s, was regularly taken to Butlins Skegness for a week by my mum and dad.
PAUL KINSEY - My Memories of Butlins Skegness
We always stayed in chalet SD3 and I seem to recall eating in the Lincoln dining hall? - especially some very thick, green pea soup! As Skegness Butlins was a child's paradise to me, I was distraught every time we had to leave for home in Liverpool, having had such a great time. Your website is a goldmine of memories of features from the camp and of times gone by (my mother has now passed away sadly - although dad is still going strong). I remember all of the places in your photos and many of the personalities and features of the camp from that time, particularly...
Irish's 'Nuts, Whole Hazel Nuts' (I think it was Irish).
The Merry-Mixer and Wild Mouse at the fairground (is my memory playing tricks?)
1970s wrestling shows (bizarre - with old ladies clobbering these showmen with their handbags!)
Radio Butlin waking us up in the morning with Sleepy Shores and Cavatina (both of which take me back instantly).
Donkey Derby, Captain Blood and The Beavers.
My sister winning the children's fancy dress (cheese wrappers with a banner saying 'I'm cheesed off')
March of the Mods (my dad even bought the Joe Loss album!)
Ye Olde Pig and Whistle (didn't it have placards saying things like 'You don't have to be mad to work here, but it helps'?). Princes Ballroom (alas!), Beachcomber, Monorail (seemed so advanced to a 9 year old in 1973) and the marvellous Gaiety Theatre which had huge knights on horseback (at least huge to a child); had great shows (did it play the Shadows before the shows started?); and neon lights with 'Baby crying at chalet...etc'
My mum winning the 'Miss She' competition, and getting a week's holiday at the Metropole. I'll try and get you a photo.
PAUL BECK was a table tennis coach in the 1970s, under a coaching scheme sponsored by the News of The World (before it became a tabloid). I was lucky enough to win the 'Butlin Cup' weekly tournament, having been coached throughout the week by Paul, who I recall was very supportive. I googled 'Paul Beck table tennis' and came up with this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcUqyUjvHlw - which is allegedly of Paul playing the famous Denis Neale earlier this year. I have a feeling it might be the same Paul Beck. [AJM: Yes it is. I checked this Youtube link in February 2018, and it was still working.] Funnily enough, I also seem to recall Denis playing all-comers in an exhibition match at Skegness with a frying pan and winning virtually every point!
Shane's chalet had a sign which said 'Happiness is pi***ng in the sink.' I remember this as he took care of me one day whilst mum and dad were doing something - he even took me to one of the snooker competitions.
I very much remember Shane Norwood, Nat King and Annie (I think I had a crush on her at the time). Both Shane and Nat became very good friends with our family. I adored Shane. In fact they both visited us at separate times at our house in Liverpool (Shane in the 70s) and Nat later.
We all grew very close to Shane, but sadly lost touch with the passage of time. Have you had any contact from them? I would love to know what they are doing now if, God willing, they're still around, or if it's possible to contact them.
I do recall the
with pictures of you
and Shane (wasn't there also a tea-tray?).
Would be great to hear from you.
All the very best,
(September 2011. Now aged nearly 47 - married with two children).