GARY 'GAZZA' 'GEORDIE' MARTIN - who worked at BOGNOR REGIS for the 1974 season.
Below are Gary's recollections of his time as a Butlins' Redcoat - in his own words:-
My name is Gary Martin ('Gazza' or 'Geordie'). I was a Redcoat at Bognor for the full season in 1974. I was not the usual Red, as I had no inclination to be on the stage! BUT, I was quite keen on sport, and also had a reputation for not being afraid to try anything. It was this attitude which, I think, swung the interview and got me the job. At the time I was the only 'Geordie' Redcoat, because the accent was considered to be a bit rough (how times have changed!).
I had to travel for two days to get to Bognor and, because of this, was at the 'camp' early - so met all the bosses, which turned out to be a good thing in the course of the season.
People whose names I can remember (quite a few actually) are:-
Robin Kemp - my best mate!
Bobby West - 'Mr. Good Looking'
Jane Maynard - daughter of the actor Bill Maynard
A.B. - Scottish lad, and a hell of a dancer
Alan Bowen - Chief Redcoat
Trevor Green - rugby fanatic from Castleford
Roger James - Compere, AND a great bloke!
Steve Elliot - rock and roll dancer
Peter Massey (I shared a chalet with him for a while. Not pleasant for either of us, but the kids loved him.)
Sean Bruce - disc jockey
Paul Hannah - 'Jake the Peg'
Tim West - kids loved him.
Redcoats whose surnames I can't remember: -
Kevin (we used to get drunk together with Robin and Bobby West)
Geoff - the biker
Bob - the lifeguard
One lad used to dress up as woman!! [Apologies to those whose names have slipped my mind.]
Girlie Redcoats were:-
Anita, Debbie, Shareen (I think that's how it was pronounced!) Jane 2, Anne, Ann, Rachel, Jo, Bev?
three wise men were:
I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the Projectionist, or the other D.J.
There was also a guy who used to do an escapology act called Howard, who was a good crack. Not forgetting the drummer and organist in the Pig and Whistle bar who were good lads, plus many more who made my time there a laugh.
To be honest, most of the time I was there I was Redcoat I.C. (in charge) as I was not into singing and dancing, and the whole management team (Ents) would just let me get on with sorting out activities i.e. Donkey Derby, Horse Racing, Lovely Legs, Glam. Gran etc. - which is what I had done before going to Butlins
I was never looked upon as what they described as a 'normal' Redcoat, and this is probably why I enjoyed it so much. I was the ONLY Redcoat who could comfortably sit in the staff bar, as most of the staff resented the Redcoats. However Robin Kemp and myself managed to break down a lot of barriers, especially in the dining rooms where waiting staff were sometimes openly aggressive towards Redcoats who HAD to eat in the campers' restaurants. I used to make the Redcoats help serve the food!!
So really the Entertainment managers were just a small part of my time. The best ones were the Compere and DJs who I always had a laugh with, and the rest of the Redcoats who were excellent (apart from a few).
There was also the famous 'Redcoat Show' - which Doug McCloud insisted I had to take part in!! People used to say that my incompetence was worth the price of the holiday. As time went on, and more and more staff realised that we were human, they actually came to see the show (just to scoff at me - of course!)
I also did some stagehand work, AND worked the spotlight for the guest cabaret acts. Learning about 'gels; was a pain but what the hell! Even then we still managed to laugh!!