Jenie Merilion

I was a Redcoat in 1966, at Skegness. I worked in Radio Butlin and will never forget when we won the World Cup. I was on duty and monitoring the bars and ballrooms where televisions had been placed en masse. I could listen in and you could feel the excitement coming over the airwaves. After we had won, all the campers were in the streets - I think there were 10,000 staying that week - they were dancing with children on their shoulders singing with lots of laughter and were totally ecstatic - I don't think there could have been a better atmosphere if you had been at the actual match.

Butlins Skegness 1966 Jenie 1
A group of us posing on the stage of the Princes Ballroom.

When you work in Radio Butlin, you are not let loose on the Tannoy system until you have had a week training your voice, using various monitors for clarity and volume. I still have a very clear voice, thanks to Butlins.

Butlins Skegness 1966 Jenie 2
The Chairman, far right, is Dennis Venton

When you were on duty first thing in the morning, the Security Guards gave you a baton to prove you had been woken up at 7 am. My first week on my own I cycled down to Radio Butlin and hadn't noticed what the weather was like. I tuned in the radio and everything else and put on the record 'Good morning, Good morning, Good morning, another lovely day, whether wet or fine, the sun will always shine, at Butlins by the sea' - then you faded the music and came up with the announcement

'Indeed it is a lovely day, this is Jenie your Radio Butlin announcer letting you know it is 7.30 and first sitting breakfast will be served at 8.15', which was all well and good but I suddenly noticed the weather and it was awful , so my announcement went like this:

'Indeed it is a lovely but we are sorry it isn't such a lovely day, but remember it is always fine at Butlins' - while bursting into a fit of giggles all the way through, which went out over the Tannoy system throughout the camp. I really got a telling off by the entertainments manager. I thought my days of being a Redcoat were over.

Butlins Skegness 1966 Jenie 3
End-of-Season Redcoat Fancy Dress Party -- foyer of the Gaiety Theatre.

I also messed up in the Gaiety Theatre when I forget to turn off one of the microphones when Kenny Cantor was performing on stage - I nearly deafened everyone with the high-pitched noise that went out over the theatre. Kenny passed it over saying something about the Martians having landed, but afterwards I had a real dressing down.

Saturdays was the day that you checked all of the Tannoy systems - you would never believe the things that we found stuffed down them to try and muffle the announcements. Every week there were speakers that were malfunctioning

Such happy memories

Janette Merilion - formerly Redcoat Jeni

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