(Recalled by Pat "Haggis" Gentles - Feb 2004)
The third week in
May 1958 I packed all my things to last me for four months and took
the boat to Douglas, the main town on the Isle of Man town, right on
the sea front. We were playing in a beautiful theatre come ballroom
of the Villa Marina right on the promenade. Mum came with me and she
found a place to stay-bed and breakfast. The first show I did was on
the third Sunday of the month on the bandstand in the gardens of the
Villa Marina. The audience was seated in lawn chairs all around the
bandstand and back up the very large garden which held upwards of 2000
people.My first show was playing rock n' roll on the bagpipes. There
was a man who sat there, listening and had a huge smile on his face.
As the show was drawing to a close the same man came to the side of
the bandstand and spoke to Ivy for a couple of minutes. They were obviously
talking about me. Little did I know what a big part this man would play
in my life.It had been a good show with a large and appreciative audience
. Frankie Vaughan had been the headliner. The man I remembered from
Villa Marina Gardens, IOM.
was there and walked towards me with his right hand held out in greeting. As he shook my hand he said his name was Jimmy Staples and he played the baritone and tenor saxophone with the Ken Mackintosh orchestra, the orchestra working with us - we did the morning dance and the afternoon in the Villa Marina Gardens and the male band played for dancing every evening and we played alternate Sundays. Jimmy asked me if I'd join him for a chat and a cup of tea at a local place he knew . I accepted and we talked for quite a while mostly about music, which was really all we had in common that night. But he was extremely easy to talk to and we soon became good friends.