This time around our
chosen REDCOAT is
My Butlins' days started at Skegness in 1970 as a Children's Nurse. Working that Christmas at the Bognor camp, I met up with some of the Reds from Skegness, who persuaded me to apply to be a Redcoat at Skegness; and so I started as a General Duty Redcoat for the 1971 summer season.
In those days we had a very busy day, starting with the compulsory "Meet and Greet" at 1st-sitting breakfast at 8 o'clock. Mornings were usually spent organising sporting tournaments like snooker, billiards, darts, tennis, table-tennis, and putting, followed at noon by Horse Racing on film.
We were supposed to eat all three meals a day with guests, which I know many Reds skipped out of, but I needed to keep up my energy levels! Afternoons could be Sports Day, Donkey Derby, Swimming Gala, or an indoor competition followed by a Whist Drive, Bingo, etc - leaving little time to change for dinner and an evening in the Ballroom.
The midnight finish time was followed one night a week into the early hours with the "Big Night Out," featuring 'star' cabarets. I don't seem to remember my one day-off per week, probably because I slept through most of them.
I worked at Barry Island for the 1971 Christmas, then Summer 1972 found me back at Skegness as a GD Redcoat. But, following the early departure of Alan Ridgway's secretary, I worked the season as the Entertainment Department Secretary in the daytime, and as a GD Red in the evenings. This led to a permanent position at Butlin's Head Office in Oxford Street, London in the Entertainment Department until their move to Bognor.
This proved to be a very varied job where I could be organising the annual round of Redcoat interviews; sending boxes of table-tennis balls to camps; visiting camps to train Radio Butlin operators; acting as a hostess at competition finals of "Glamorous Grandmother," "Miss She," "Horse of the Year Show" (Wembley), and the Butlin Talent Shows (London Palladium).
[Ron Stanway adds: "Re Judith's time in London Office, doing the Redcoat Recruitment, Competition Semi-finals and Finals etc., she was my Secretary - and a bloody good one too. I was Asst. General Manager Ents. at the time.]
I followed this with another summer season at Minehead, as Secretary for the Ents. Manager Brett Cresswell.
Having worked at nearly every camp and hotel during the 1970s I got to know a lot of people, and would be happy to take a walk down memory lane with anybody who remembers me.
BUTLINS SKEGNESS Redcoat teams: