Heysham Towers Holiday Camp - a Memory of Heysham.
I remember arriving in Morecambe in 1967, with a mate of mine, to work the Summer at Pontin's in Middleton but, due to a clerical error, our job's were no longer open. So, on the way back to Morecambe, (on the bus), we spotted what we assumed to be an Old Folk's Home, ('cos of the number of 'old folk's' we saw), but we decided to apply anyway...and am I ever glad we did!.
Turned out to be 'Pensioner's Week' at what was then known as 'Morecambe Bay Holiday Camp De-Luxe', and it became the best Summer of my life! The Dining-room Manager...(a Greek guy called George...who also 'moon-lighted as a Wrestler at (I think) The Floral Hall in Morecambe every Wednesday?), was a coupla waiter's short, and he took us on immediately!
I remember the owner's, (the Holden's, and especially Derek....whom I considered a miserable so-and-so, at first), all ate in a private dining-room behind the raised dais where the Entertainment Manager, Johnny Spillars, would interrupt everyone's meal with new's of the day's entertainment available! Actually, I have a further memory of Johnny. One Thursday, when we'd all get our laundry back, (in a brown-paper parcel tied up with string...sounds like the words from a song), when Johnny happened by and spotted a sky-blue tie I owned, and asked me if I'd sell it, saying he had a jacket the same colour and it would look great on stage!...I didn't want to, but I eventually did...for 2/6d, haahaahaa!.
We used to put on a 'Staff Show' every Thursday in the 'Social Club' where we'd do a 'take-off' of The Rolling Stones...(I was just learning to play the guitar)...then do a 'mime' to a record of 'The Dubliner's' doing 'Seven Drunken Nights'...followed by a guy called 'Harold' something, with his wife, who had a ventriloquist's dummy which constantantly had bit's dropping off it, all part of the act. I remember he was the image of Freddie Garrity, of 'Freddie & The Dreamer's, and he and we waiters got to be good mates. I also recall a kiddie's entertainer but, as that show was on Sunday afternoons I always missed it 'cos Sunday was my day off. I always went horse-riding, from a small stable in Heysham Village, and I always booked the same mount...a lovely-natured, biddable grey mare called Clover. I recall that Harold...or, as we came to call him, 'Freddie', suggested we went to Pontin's, where the horses were bigger and faster...(of course they were, they were all ex-racehorses), with a really bad attitude to boot, and I was thrown half-way back! There was one thing that must 'not' be missed, however...and that was Friday Night in the Ballroom, when all the 'campers' were saying their goodbyes. I should explain, at this point, that each of the dining-room waiters were responsible for a 'station'...a block of ten tables, each seating six people...(often two families to a table)...and Friday night was when they sought 'their waiter' out to give him a 'tip' before they left the following morning. Almost everyone were able to leave their wages in the office until the end of the season...what a great year to be 18, eh?.
An hour or so before the end of the evening, the band would strike-up 'The Conga', and a 'line' would form, eventually leaving the room and progressing right through the 'Lakeland Lounge', and 'The Social Club'...and all around the Camp...eventually arriving back in the Ballroom some 20 minutes later...when the final strain's of 'Goodnight Camper's' would begin (and so would the 'cuddles') but, the following morning, at 8am, would see all the waiters standing at the bottom of the dining-hall steps to welcome all the new influx...give out the 'Saints & Sinners badges...and pick out yer next dates for the coming week! I actually met my future wife towards the end of the season...(a local girl)...and we were married in St. Peter's Church in Heysham Village that Christmas...eventually moving into a house on Blackberry Hall Estate the following year...(for anyone who know's the area, we moved onto Kingsway...No.45...where we lived until 1971!
Sorry if this seems a tad over-long, folks, but I have so many memories of my time in Heysham!
Incidently, I paid a visit to my old 'stamping-ground' some time ago, and it grieved me to note that the holiday camp is now a housing estate!
...Ah, well......places might change, but the memories will always be the same, eh?.
A memory shared byon Nov 3rd, 2012.
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