Archive News - 2006

This update - 29 December 2006


It is with great sadness that I have to report the passing of Gracie Cole on December 28th.
Gracie had been ill for some time; she was one of Ivy's stalwart Trumpet players and was with Ivy from
1945 to 1950 before setting up her own Ladies band.

She was married to Bill Geldard, Trombonist and arranger who played with the Ted Heath Band in
the early 1950's and 60's

A very detailled Biography of Gracie and her career in the field of music
can be read in the "Biography" section of this site.

Our deepest condolences go out to Bill and his family on this sad occasion.


I had a great Christmas email from Barbara Ellenor (now Beard) ( Trombone 1955 to 1957 ) with some information and photos; the photos are great quality from the mid 1950's and these can be seen online at "Album 53" of the Photo Gallery - hope you like them and many thanks to Barbara.

This update - 16 December 2006

Just recieved this from Patsy O'Hara in Australia-
(Trombone 1947 - 1949)

"From Patsy O'Hara to you and all ex Benson girls



a Merry Christmas and good luck and good health in 2007".

This update - 8 October 2006

Received the following email from Amanda Banes which made me smile.......

"My dad, now in his 70's was telling me today that when the Ivy Benson Band performed in Tripoli he was in charge of one of the spot lights and was told by Ivy Benson to keep the spotlight on her!! My Dad remembers the visit to his Garrison in Tripoli with great fondness"

- sounds just like Ivy!!! Thanks for the memory, Amanda.


Apologies to our visitors. If you have been looking at the Press cutting "All that Jazz", sent in by Lew and June Smith, it would have been obvious that the picture was missing. My error - sorry. I thank our visitor Stephen Coombs who helped me get it back online. Thanks Stephen

This update - 23 September 2006

Just received a couple of emails from Carol Powells, a new visitor to the website, concerning a Double Bass previously played in the Ivy Benson Band. A great story - check it out in the "Tales" section under "Ellens Double Bass".

This update - 5 September 2006

I have just completed adding a great Clipping from Lew and June Robinson (now Smith). June was with the band during the early fifties - (Trumpet and Vocals) and resident in Western Australia since 1961. Thanks very much for such wonderful memories of both of you - what a career! This is now online under the "Press Cuttings" section entitled "And all that jazz..."

Also there is an interesting clipping - "Jazz Fremantle" in which June describes how the Group developed over 15 years.

This update - 10 August 2006

A further selection of photos have been received; one from Joyce Clark ( Vocalist from 1942 to 1947) located in the Photo Gallery Section - Album 52, and a second selection from Maureen Mortimer ( Alto Sax from 1953 to 1955) in Album 51 - Maureens first selection is shown in Album 25. Many thanks to them for providing these photos.

Further details regarding the Tale from Sheila Tracy - "The Mark Andrews Orchestra" - (which was apparently a pseudonym of the Ivy Benson Orchestra for a very short time - one LP I believe), have been received from David Peters. I have added this new information to the original file, so to read a little more of this "Tale" click here to see the new extended version.

A very interesting "Press Cutting" has been gleaned from the "Preswich and Whitefield Guide" (by kind permission of the Editor) about Muriel Higson who played with the Band in the early 1940's; it is entitled "Playing in a wartime band" and to see the photos and read the article please click here or go to the "Press Cutting" section in the "Contents" section.

This update - 23 July 2006

Just received this email regarding Ivy at Bridlington (Yorkshire) - can anyone throw any light on this query?

"What a fantastic site. I have just spent several hours browsing.

I am currently researching a book on the history of Bridlington. Several interviewees have told me that Ivy Benson and her band regularly played at the Lounge on Bridlington seafront through the war years.

Have you got any information about how regularly she appeared in Brid? Do you happen to have any photos of her in the town?

Any help you can give would be gratefully received. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards Nick (Laister)"

Any info please contact me to pass on

This update - 27 June 2006


I am very sorry to report the passing of Pat Burnett ("Sapphire" to her many friends and colleagues).

Pat played Baritone Sax with the Band from 1957, and has been resident in Germany for many years.

Her brother, David, sent me the following email - I am sure we all send him our deepest symapthy at his sad loss.

"This is David Burnett writing, Pat's brother. I'm afraid Pat passed away on Thursday last week after a period
of illness (lung cancer). I know she enjoyed getting back in touch with old friends and catching up with news through the website,
so thank you very much for that.

Were still making plans for a service here in Germany (she taught many local children music), probably on Saturday
at the local church. Her ashes are being sent back to the UK where we will scatter them in
Morecambe Bay in a few weeks time.

Sorry to be the bearer of such bad news, but I thought you'd like to know and maybe let other
people know through the website. I've attached the obituary Pat herself wrote and one of her favorite photos

Kind regards,
David Burnett".

"That's all there is
There isn't any more my friends
I guess
The mountain was too high to climb
I put a sign that says "For Sale"
On all my dreams
And a permanent lock on my door

That's all there is
There isn't any more"
(Gordon Jenkins)
Patricia Anne Hauser nee Burnett in center
6.8.42 - 22.6.06

I must unfortunately depart.


Thank you to all who have lightened my last months.
To my friends everywhere in the world, the time with you was beautiful.
Think of me sometimes.

"Let the music play as long as there's a song to sing
Then I will stay younger than spring"
(Gordon Jenkins)

This update - 18 June 2006

Just returned from summer holidays - very enjoyable - and have found several emails from visitors to the website; see if you can help out on these queries - first one from Helen Cooper -

"My mother was Irene Goldsmith and her sister was Gladys and they performed professionally as The Gold Sisters. Mom played the violin and her sister the piano. Mom passed away on Monday and as part of her eulogy I wonder if anyone remembers my mother who I believe played with the band on at least one occasion and if you do, does anyone have memories and photos of that time. I think that this could possibly have been around 1933.

Helen Cooper"

Thanks, Helen; sorry to hear of your loss - we'll see if we can find any info on your Mom... but 1933 is a bit doubtful as the Band didn't start until 1939!

Another from Eric Sullivan -

"Hello, I wonder if you can help.
I have a friend, Les Webb, who sang with the army band known as the CRUSADERS in 1946 for BFN in Hamburg.
He made many recordings at that time and is trying to trace them, if any still exist.
If you can point me to suitable website I would be most grateful.
Thank You.

and Gary Rose wrote -

Having read your wonderful website, I noticed that there is no mention of Valerie Cooney (aka Liz) who joined the Ivy Benson Band in the mid-fifties. I'd be interested to hear what happened to her after she left the band. Do you have any information on Valerie's career before and after the Ivy Benson Band?

With kind regards - Gary.

No, Gary, I don't have a reference to Valery (Liz) Cooney; can anyone help ???

Any more info or queries, please send them in - we always like to hear of new (to us) names, and we will always try to sort out queries. Please email me or use the "Contact Us" facility if you can help - look forward to hearing from you.

This update - 5 May 2006

Just had an email enquiry from D A Lister enquiring whether any ex members of the Band remember Jenny and Mary Millar who came from Liverpool; they played with the Band during the War Years, Jenny on Piano and Mary on Drums and Saxophone. Unfortunately it is believed they have now both passed away, but any memories would be gratefully received. Please contact me if you can help.

This update - 24 April 2006

Further to the note below dated 11 April, I have now received the photos from Deni Cooke, which are now online as "Album 50" in the Photo Gallery. I am more than delighted to tell you that this represents the 50th Album I have published in this website; many many thanks for the interest and help so many of you have given - not only in the supply and loan of all types of memorabilia, but in phone calls, letters etc. - It all helps to make this website of interest to so many of the many "Ivy's Girls" still out there.

I am told by several people that we have been successful in reconnecting old friends who have lost contact; in one case, even linking up a mother and son. It makes the effort worthwhile and I hope you will all keep in touch, checking out the site when you can. Please keep me informed of any stories, news of ex band members and any snippets of information.


It is with sorrow I have to report the passing of June Lesley who was a Vocalist with Ivy's Band in the 1950's. I have received the following email with the sad information from Dennis Walton - and apologise for it's late appearance...

"I have just learned of the passing of June Lesley on the 14th April 2005. June and I, together with her husband Mike Waller
played in the Denny Boyce Orchestra for a number of years. We kept in touch a couple of times every year, usually around Christmas.
Through another friend I found your website and saw the photo of Jean Smith and June".

June, who lived in the Stevenage area, began singing at the age of 16 with local dance bands, progressing as a professional
with bands including Ivy Benson, Ronnie Aldrich and the Squadronaires, Bob Miller and the Millermen and Frank Weir.
She also played the London Palladium with Mat Monro and Kathy Kirby.


Recently received the following email from John Duer after putting a "Tale" online about his mother, sent in by Pauline Bingham - "Living with Mrs. Duer" - click on this link to read her story....

" I was amused to find a memory of my mother - 'Living with Mrs Duer' by Pauline Bingham.sums her up absolutely. I don't remember Pauline Bingham specifically - people were coming and going all the time. She may have stayed there after I had escaped!! Indeed the only one of you that I do remember was your drummer of the time, Paula Pyke, from Wallasey if I remember rightly. She doesn't figure on the list of memories. What happened to her? Anyway, thanks for stirring my grey matter!"

Glad you enjoyed the site, John, and the story on your mother!.


This update - 11 April 2006

Another ex member has connected me from Australia - Deni Cooke ( played Drums 1971 to 1972) has some photos for me - and possibly a story or two about those days; keep a look-out for more news.

This update - 29 March 2006

The author of a forthcoming history book would be delighted to speak to any members of Ivy Benson's troupe who were involved in the season at the Lido night-club in Hamburg in the autumn of 1960. If you were there, please email jpage3@hotmail.co.uk, or contact webmaster Brian Ravenhill via the "Contact Us" facility, who can pass on your reply.

The magazine "Yours" in which Roy Hudd has written articles connected to Ivy Benson, continues to provide me with further very useful information. This time Sylvia England (Trumpet - 1947 to 1951) has contacted me to say Roy has sent her a programme of the Band in 1948, when they played the Dundee Palace on 6th December; most of the Girls playing at that venue signed the photo, giving me a confirmation date as to when they were with the Band. It's surprising how many corrections I have been able to make to my database - thanks , Sylvia, for your help.

And talking of help, I have two terrific Albums of photos from Tanza McKernon (Album 38) ans Pat "Sapphire" Burnett (Album 45) but are at present sadly missing lots of names, places and dates; I've tried my best but know there must be some of you who have probably looked at these photos and said " I know who that is" - if so, please share the info; I'm in your hands on detailling the photographs.

This update - 7 March 2006

Bernard Barwick reminds me of Ivy's charitable work after her retirement in Clacton-on-sea, with a very nice letter and photo which is now online in the "Tell the Tales" section, entitled "Ivy at the Waveney".

I would also like to thank David Carey, who sent me the complimentary email below....

.... I found the web address in a copy of "YOURS" magazine given to my wife and just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed exploring it. There is a small personal interest. I lived a few doors down from Norma Cameron (Sax 1943-1955) when I was a kid (she was several years older than me) but have vague memories of her. I Later worked with her Dad for a few months while doing an apprenticeship in Chatham dockyard. I never heard her or her dad play but was always told by my parents what talented musicians they both were. It was good to see a photo of her and learn something of her history.

Thanks David, hope you continue to enjoy the website; it makes it all worthwhile if I have managed to stir some pleasant memories for you.


A great surprise arrived from the Australia the other morning - a wonderful selection of photos and clippings on a CD from June Robinson (now Smith) who played Trumpet with Ivy in the early 1950's; this selection has allowed me to improve the details and names of members from this period; thanks, June - I'm sure many of our "visitors" will enjoy checking them out. They are now online in Album 49.

This update - 22 February 2006.

New photos are from Philip Westwood, who was on "Army Escort" in the 1952 Canal Zone tour (Album 48), and a full band photo of 1948 vintage on the occassion of Margaret Chappell (Double Bass - 1946 to 1948) leaving the band (Album 47). Many thanks to both for these additions.

Thanks go to Nina Dellamura (Tenor Sax - 1957 to 1959) for some additional photographs; I have now put these on line with the existing ones in Album No 44.

Our thanks also go to John Hatfield who sent me the following email - seems he liked the Band a lot!!!
....Hi. Just found your page wow o wow it brings back a lot of good memories. I met Ivy when she played at our NCO Club at RAF Upper Heyford in late 50s early 60s wow what a band I met her again Jersey in the 70s she was playing in a hotel I cannot think of the name. boy was she surprised, also knew her Husband who was the manager. do U know what happened to him. keep up the good work as I said You have a great page

Also an email from Denny Lockwood remembering those days......
....I was in the army and our regiment had moved to Wuppertal West Germany B.A.O.R 9. I remember the time in 1955 when Ivy & her band entertained us in "Harding Barracks."
Al Read was on the same bill, I was reading Roy Hudds page in the "Yours" magazine last week, he ran an article on Ivy & her band it really brought back memories over 50 years ago,I still have the postcard photo of the whole band.I was a Infantry soldier in the 1st. Bn.Suffolk Regt.nearing the end of my National Service, what talented girls they were,and very pretty as well!.

Thanks to you all for the correspondence; keep it coming!

This update - 4 February 2006

I'm delighted to have received a collection of photos and Press clippings from Pat "Sapphire" Burnett, (Baritone Sax - 1950's & 60's) - The photos are in Album 45 - any help with details (dates, names, places etc) would be most helpful; please email me if you can help. The press clippings are under the "Press Cuttings" link in the Contents list, but will take a few days before they will all be available.

Several emails have been received with memories of Ivy and the Girls ....

One from Ian Wright remembering 1954 in Fayid; another from Thomas Lowry who enjoyed "listening in" while in the Forces.

Thanks for an email from Denny Lockwood who remembers Ivy and her Girls doing a show for some of the National Service lads some 50 years ago; all of these "Tales" have been put online under the "Tell the Tales" section - thanks to you all; always good to hear your memories.

I've had a number of emails enquiring about friends and relatives - the first is .....
........ .I was wondering if you could be of help as I am trying to tract down any info on a lady called Susan Jeans I know she sang with a all girl band in the 40s to 50s; I think the band was called the Gloria Gaye all girl band but may be she may have sang with Ivys band as well ,
Also her husband was a performer and he starred at the London Palladium; his name was Frank Cooke and was American.He played the guitar and harmonica .Any help would be wonderful as its for these peoples daughter ,who lives in America and has no info on her mothers singing career and she has now passed away. Thank you so much for your time
friend of daughter
jean coles

The second email is....
...... .
I am looking for a great-aunt of mine. I know she sang with the Ivy Benson Band after the war. She was called Gladys Cotterill ( Deffinitley Cotterill),
From Jenner Stubbs.


Any help please let me know via email or "Contact Us" - thanks.

Nina Dellamura has sent me a lovely "Tale" about starting out in music and her friendship of over 50 years with Inge Wannell. Thanks Nina; very nice memories of happy times - check it out in "Tell the Tale" - "Friendship".

I have also managed to obtain a poster from 1948 which some of you may find of interest ; although it's only a single item, I have put it online in the Photo Gallery section as Album 46. Hope it stirs the memories!!

This update - 21 January 2006

Two more ex members names have sent to me: Kay (known as Val) West has been in touch via Sylvia England - Kay (or Val) played Double Bass during the 60's; also Pauline Bingham (now Hoole) - Trumpet 1957 to 1968, has sent me an amusing "Tale" about lodging with Mrs Duer in London; check it out in the "Tell the Tales"section. Hopefully I shall get further information and possibly some interesting memorabilia for both the above.

This update - 9 January 2006

Things are already stirring on the 2006 Ivy Benson front - a great biography of Paula Pyke (Drums 1946 to 1961) supplied by John Harding, a contributor to "Old Drummers Club" - a bi-monthly newsletter; Jean Smith - now O'Neill ( Tenor Sax 1957 to 1959) sent me 4 more great "Tales"; and new name, Sandra Barsden - now Adams (Tenor Sax - 1968 to 1970) has contacted me; sorry for the delay in adding you to this News page. I look froward to hearing more from you and possibly receiving some Memorabilia, Sandy.

And thanks to Inge Wannell for another side-splitting account of life on the high seas - check it out in the "Tales" section.

This update - 2 January 2006

A Happy New Year to all our visitors; I trust you are begining to get over some of the excesses of the Festive Season - and now I guess many of us are awaiting the arrival of Credit Card bills!!

However, the start of a New Year has given me the first items of "News"-

Towards the end of last year I received a wide selection of information from Mary Dumain (Alto) 1957 to 1960, and Inge Wannell (Baritone) 1957 to 1959. These are now online in various sections - Photos, Tales and Press Cuttings. Many thanks to both and I hope you all enjoy reading them.

Also a few photos have arrived from Nina Dellamura (Tenor) 1957 to 1959 - these are in "Album 44". In addition Nina has sent me a very interesting "Biography".

Many thanks to all concerned for this great start to a new year.