BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

JOANNA LEE

My name is JOANNA LEE. I was a Butlins Redcoat at Clacton, in the summer of 1975. Although a first-year Red' I ended up as a singer, with spots in the "Redcoat Show"; the 'Blinking Owl' bar, and the "Olde Time Music Hall" show. I was also a commere in the "Miss She," "Glamorous Grandmother," and "Knobbly Knees" competitions. This is my story in pictures. Hope you enjoy it half as much as I did.

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

My chalet was just near the Gaiety theatre, so not too far to walk home at night

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

You always had to have your pic' taken and oblige, no
matter what time of the morning. For many months after
I left Clacton I would say "Hello" to complete strangers.

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

Angela, me, and Sandra (I think).
Angela was an announcer in Radio Butlin
.

I didn't take part in any donkey races, but we had to sell
Donkey Derby tickets leading up to the big day.

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

My apprenticeship started with Bingo calling. I learned all the sayings: "2 little ducks - 22",
"top of the shop - 9  0 - ninety", "Kelly's Eye - number 1" - and encouraged the wolf whistles for "legs 11".
Did not plan on the moans of some of the campers telling me I was too fast ... or too slow!!

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

Here was a great idea: "Jo, you compere the swimming gala each week." So I sat on the top diving board each Sunday
with a megaphone, compering the Swimming Gala. So ladylike, of course. Fine for a few weeks, until the Lifeguards and
Redcoats thought it might be a giggle to throw me in at the end of the gala. The crowd roared, and I had to feign shock
and horror, and then dash back to my chalet to dry my hair and get changed ready to be on duty in the Gaiety Theatre


BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

I was asked to have go at compering the "Miss She" competition, and thought it was a one-off for just one week. It
became my regular slot, and I had to describe all the outfits the ladies were wearing.The professional models really
stood out when they came on camp to win. They would book a week's holiday and you would only see them on the
day of the competitions. They were usually gorgeous, slim, and clear winners. The Campers hardly stood a chance!

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

Another compering job, the 'Knobbly Knees' contest, which was always a giggle. I got them to line up, one
behind the other, and then to bend down. It was then quite easy for me to push the chap at the back so that they
all toppled forward. There were no health-and-safety issues in those days, and it always bought the house down.
Sponsored by 'Tartan Bitter' - as if you couldn't tell.

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

This is me with Brian, who I shared the stage with in the 'Crazy Horse Saloon', on Sunday nights in the
"Olde Time Music Hall". I was the bride waiting at the church, and Brian, after sitting silently all night with
a deadpan expression on his face, would sing: "I Want to Be Happy" - BIG LAUGH every time.

MASTER MOD COMPETITION

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

More weekly young winners, and more Redcoat posing ...

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

This looks like the line-up for Junior Sports Day, or could it be Donkey Derby jockeys?

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

Me posing with one of the most popular Redcoats that season - Paul, who had his own fan club.
All the teenage girls fancied Paul. I wonder what he is doing now, and if he still has the grass skirt.

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

We ate our meals with the Campers in the dining hall. You were assigned a table, and this is where you sat each day, for
that week. You had to greet all the campers on arrival, and then could sit down and join them once they were all seated.
Some of the kids' faces when they realised they had a Redcoat to themselves all week were a picture. After all we were famous!!

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

Redcoats and some of the entertainment staff - also Tony Silk (far right), in the Caribbean Bar,
singing and providing all the actions for "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." In hysterics,
as you can imagine the enthusiasm. It was "let your hair down night," and we partied hard.

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

Friday night was "Farewell" and party hat night.

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

Every Friday night in the Princes Ballroom all the Redcoats would line-up to say "Goodbye" to the campers.
We would march in from either side of the ballroom in formation, and then line up in front of the stage to
sing "We'll Meet Again." Big cheers from the campers, and lots of flashing bulbs from the cameras as they
took final pictures of the Redcoats. All that adulation and attention could have gone to your head!!

BUTLINS CLACTON 1975

After leaving Butlins I travelled and worked in the Mediterranean as
a cook on private yachts. I then returned to England, and started
singing in a dance band. I have been a semi-pro singer over a number
of years and have performed at many corporate dinner dances. It was
when I was performing in the band at Kodak, at Hemel Hempstead,
that I bumped into former Redcoat teammate Kevin Devane who was
then, and still, is a professional comedian. A few years later I was
performing at RAF Bicester, and bumped into Tony Silk. It was great
to see my old teammates from Butlins after all these years.

Happy memories of days gone by and, as you so rightly said "A.J", a good
apprenticeship for any budding entertainers. Mine was not planned and,
had it not been for Butlins, I would never have had the many years of
pleasure that singing has brought me over the years.

I would love to hear from any of the Ents. team who I shared that season
with. You can contact me by the email link below:

Joanna Lee

With sincere thanks to JOANNA LEE for sharing these wonderful memories with us.

See also:

BUTLINS CLACTON REDCOATS 1975

To share your Butlins Redcoat photos with this site,
please
email "A.J" Marriot
at

REDCOATS REUNITED

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