Beauty contests with the Marina’s King
- Credit: Archant
He was the King of the Marina – a man who stood head and shoulders above the biggest household names in the land... how we loved Neville Bishop.
Never mind the big stars at the theatres - it was Neville who got the people of Norfolk, the rest of East Anglia and the whole country in the holiday mood when they arrived in GREAT Yarmouth.
Uncle Neville and Auntie Jean made holidays in Yarmouth so special for thousands of people... especially the children.
He ran talent shows for the children and the grown-ups, long before Opportunity Knocks! came along. He marched through the streets with his orchestra putting a smile on the faces of the holidaymakers.
Long queues would form outside the Marina to get a chance to enjoy his shows. He usually did three a day – the morning one was devoted to the children, followed by another one in the afternoon and at night. Oh, and there were two shows on a Sunday, one at 3pm and the other at 7.45pm. Now that was hard work.
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While he laughed a lot, and could be far more entertaining than some of the big-time entertainers on the piers, Neville was also a talented musician and he made sure he always surrounded himself with top musicians, many of them from Norfolk and Suffolk.
He was described as one of Britain's leading musicians who topped bills across the country and all over Europe. He fronted McNamara's Band and also the Wolves.
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Apart from the talent shows there were beauty contests, glamorous granny competitions and of course knobbly knees contests and the Marina was packed out for his shows, because not only was there fun, the music was first-class. These were top players.
I received a letter from Nikki Cleaver who lives at Nottingham who wonders if anyone may be able to help her solve a family mystery.
When their cousin John (Colin) Fish died they found a picture in his belongings.
It was the one which says 'Neville Bishop & His Gang' and it was taken at the Marina in 1959.
Now they think that John is sitting in the middle of the front row holding a guitar.
'John was a private man and never mentioned before in a band so we are naturally very interested in this photograph,' said Nikki.
'Can anyone shed any light on Neville Bishop & His Gang or confirm that it is in fact John Fish in the photograph?,' she asks
'If anyone has any memories of being in the band with John or anything else about him then we would love to hear from them.'
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 34 Rossell Drive, Stapleford, Nottingham NG9 7EJ.
And if you have any special memories of Neville Bishop I would also love to hear from you too at email@example.com