Below are Nick's recollections of his time as a Butlins Redcoat - in his own words:-
My name is NICK GILCHRIST. I was a Redcoat at Butlins Skegness in 1979 - at the tender age of nineteen. Prior to that I had become a successful local DJ/Entertainer in Rugby. I remember actually going for the interview, believe it or not, at the JOB CENTRE in Coventry, where auditions where being held. I secured the job, and became the resident camp DJ that year.
Nothing could have prepared me for that first season!! Wide-eyed and eager to impress - that was me! One of my first jobs, after getting my new uniform, was to greet incoming guests at Skegness Train station. WOW! that was surreal - standing on the platform with two other Red's in full uniform, awaiting hundreds of people piling off incoming trains, all ready to start their holidays. We were Superstars! it was amazing the effect that spotting a Redcoat had on people.
Thousands arrived on those initial days and, at the same time, thousands finished their week's holiday on the same day! It was chaos! All the lovely families and er .. girlfriends left, and a new batch arrived!!
After completing my first season. I returned home, and couldn't wait to return in 1980, but this time I persuaded a great friend and DJ to come along - Martin Kelleher. He had listened to my tales of fun and frivolity, and decided to join me. Together we returned, both as resident DJs covering all MCing and compere duties.
During the 1980 season, I entered a 'National DJ Championship' run by Radio Luxembourg, and won through to the finals out of thousands of DJs from nationwide. At the finals I was placed 2nd, but that resulted in me presenting a radio show on Luxembourg, and eventually moving to Swindon to work for the club which had held the contest. They paid for me to move, and covered all my expenses until I could find a place to live!! Over the next few years I worked on local radio stations; presented my own live show; and got married!!
However, I will never forget the fabulous times I had at Butlins, nor the people I met. They all had a profound lasting effect on my life, and even how I led it!
Martin and I are now back in touch. It would be great to hear from any of the rest of the gang who may remember me!!!
Nick Gilchrist (aka: The Funky Banana)
Other BUTLINS SKEGNESS Redcoat teams: