Marvellous musical memories

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I was very interested to see the photos in last week’s Herald of Ray King, the owner of King’s Country Club.

Mr King was my boss when I worked in the office of King’s Holiday Park in the late 1960s. I was secretary to Eric Marshall, the dapper manager, who wore a centre parting, a black and white check suit and only put his teeth in for special occasions!

Working there was a delight. Mr King liked a relaxed atmosphere and so the chief receptionist Anne’s two cats, Pinky and Perky, slept in the filing baskets and her little poodle, Freddie, sat on the counter.

Rose, the receptionist and I had the new Radio One on all day and so my ability to sing all the hits of 1968 remains unsurpassed.

If we weren’t busy, Mr King was only too happy when we spent our time making Christmas decorations or heating doughnuts bought from the Site Store in the old oven in the back. We were able to use the pool at lunchtimes and the club at night.

At the end of the season, the site entertainers, Fred and Jo, would organise a staff show and we would all join in. Our ‘She Wears Red Feathers and a Hulie, Hulie Skirt’ had to be seen to be believed.

Mr King would waft through the office smoking his trademark cigar, wreathed in smiles, and his glamorous wife would waft through smelling beautifully of Youth Dew.

It was such a lovely place to work and I have great memories of Mr King, Mr Marshall, my colleagues and all the folk who lived and worked 

Sue Storey, Churchill Close.

In the days before the emergence of rock and roll and the coffee bar culture, the dancers of Eastbourne were well served.

Regular ballroom dances were featured along the seafront. Most of the hotels west of the Pier presented dinner dances on Saturday, while during the season the Pier Pavilion, now the slot machine arcade, dancing every night was the scene.

The corporation under the control of George Hill, the entertainments director, promoted dances at the Winter Garden and Town Hall. In addition to this on the warm summer evenings, the skating rink of Devonshire park resounded to the big band sounds.

Older residents of Eastbourne will remember the bands of Gordon Rider, the corporations musical director, and Ron Harling with his accordion bands for many years resident at the Mansion Hotel. Len Wiloughby performed many gigs at various venues,

Cecil Newberry at the Cavendish Hotel and Harry Loveday at the Grand Hotel.

For several summer seasons the famous Ronnie Hancox Band featuring Susan Maugham moved from their residency in Birmingham to enjoy the sun of the Suntrap of Southern England on the Pier. Every night the members of the band would arrive at the Pier Head in a fleet of white limousines.

The pool of musicians in Eastbourne was small and often familiar faces would appear in competitive bands especially out of season. In addition to this their weekday afternoons would find them on the Bandstand with the programme of light classics under the batons of Gordon Rider or Harry Loveday. In the evenings, if not in the ballroom, Gordon Rider would be in the orchestra pit of the Winter garden shows.

Around 1956 the coffee bars opened with the juke box, these attracted the teenagers who could make their choice of music. The two that I frequented together with my friends were the Continental and the one above Mac Fisheries in Terminus Road but my preference was for ballroom and the lovely ladies in their gowns with so many petticoats.

Oh, such innocent fun.

Lionel Leslie Marriott, Lakeside Court, Dallington Road.