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Events

Heritage Foundation Sir Norman Wisdom Blue Plaque

Former Heritage Foundation President Sir Norman Wisdom OBE, was honoured on March 6th with the unveiling of a Blue Plaque at his former London Home in Fernhead Road. Jeff and wife Judy were among a host of well known celebrities who joined in the festivities befitting of such a legendary performer. The plaque was unveiled by the current Foundation President, Robin Gibb CBE, Vice President Mike Read, members of Sir Norman’s family, agent Johnny Mans and Nicholas Parsons OBE. A tribute luncheon followed at the Marriott Hotel, Regents Park during which, many of Sir Norman’s friends, family and colleagues from the showbiz world relayed their own memories of working with the comic genius. A charity auction was conducted by radio presenter David Hamilton while actress Vicki Michelle MBE presided over the raffle in her own inimitable style. Other celebrities present included; Frazer Hines, Robert Duncan, Eddie Large, Perry Fenwick, Anita Graham and Buddy Greco.
Eggheads

It was back to the small screen for Jeffrey this week when he joined former colleagues from Maplins Holiday Camp (Hi de Hi) in a battle of wits against television’s ultimate quiz aficionados, The Eggheads. Putting up a credible fight with Jeff were the show’s co writer Jimmy Perry and cast members Paul Shane, Barry Howard and Nikki Kelly. Sadly, despite their best efforts, they weren’t quite able to overthrow their opponents on this occasion but a thoroughly good time was had by all.
Anderida Writers Circle

Judy and husband Jeffrey Holland travelled to Eastbourne on 13th July where they took part in the annual short story writing competition of the Anderida Writers Circle. Jeffrey is Patron of the group which was formed some twenty years. It provides the opportunity for aspiring writers to meet on a regular basis at The Langham Hotel to exchange feedback, share advice and generally hone their skills. Each summer culminates with this prize winning event and which for the past few recent years, has seen Judy and Jeffrey bring the stories to life, reading before a large appreciative audience.
Heritage Foundation Garden Party

An overcast sky, cool breeze and persistent drizzle heralded Jeff and Judy’s arrival in Buckinghamshire for the annual Heritage Foundation Garden Party held in Great Kingshill on July 18th. This year’s throng assembled in celebration of the granting of planning permission for the Foundation’s latest project, the building of a permanent memorial to Bomber Command in London’s Green Park scheduled for 2011. As the anxious crowd gazed to the heavens in hope, the clouds parted almost to demand sending temperatures soaring amid blazing sunshine and guests running for shade! 
In short, it was a typical English summer day. Following a welcoming drink and delicious buffet lunch served by a local hostelry, Jeff and Judy joined Veterans of Bomber Command for a photocall in the presence of heritage Foundation President Robin Gibb CBE who has spearheaded the fundraising campaign form the outset. Entertainment for the afternoon came in the shape of comedy from Joe Goodman, with music from rock legend PJ Proby, singing protégé Ellie Dibben and Nicola Sipprell. 
As in keeping with all Heritage events, funds were boosted with a celebrity auction held under the masterful direction of Mike Read and Goodman with actress Vicki Michelle stepping into her familiar role of drawing the raffle. A presentation was also made to Vicki in recognition of her continued work with the charity and recent award in The Queens Birthday Honours List

© Jean Havilland

© Doug McKensie

Dads Army Day

Ten years ago saw the first Dad’s Army Day to be staged in Thetford, Norfolk. Now a tradition, this year saw a whole week of events leading up to the main day itself culminating on the 20th July. Jeff has attended many such days in the past and this year, he and wife Judy took a detour on the way home from their latest theatre tour venue to take part in the festivities. The celebrations included a stage show, jitterbug dancers, the RAF Honnington Band, access to The Dad’s Army Museum and military vehicles together with those from the Bressingham Collection used in the television series. 
One of the highlights of this year’s proceedings was the unveiling of a life size bronze statue of Captain Mainwaring aka Arthur Lowe performed by David Croft outside The Old Anchor Hotel where many of the cast stayed during the filming of the series. 
Other celebrities taking part over the weekend included Jimmy Perry OBE, Bill Pertwee, Philip Madoc and Pamela Cundell.

© Andrew Ruff

Heritage Foundation Ball

The Heritage Foundation Summer Ball had a distinct retro theme to it this year with the legendary 60’s pop group The Searchers, led by Frank Allen, topping the bill. Staged at The Marriott Hotel, Regents Park, London, the musical extravaganza was preceded by a bucks fizz reception, three course dinner and fundraising auction. 
King of the one liners, comedian Joe Goodman ensured everyone was in the party mood before the musicians took over providing a range of music for every taste including country and western from Ellie Dibben and traditional pop from Dave Berry, Elena Canclini and Nicola Sipprell. The dynamic Ching energised the audience with her own electrifying style of classical solo violin while Lou Jordan rock and rolled into the small hours with his Elvis tribute act but it was the 60’s legends that created the beat that drew everyone onto the dance floor. 
Not exactly a ball in the traditional sense but there was no denying a ball was had by all!

© Doug McKensie

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Pinewood Studios

An inhospitable chill wind greeted Jeff and Judy as they arrived at the renowned Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire on Sunday, to witness the unveiling of a Blue Plaque in honour of one of Britain’s best loved actors, Sir John Mills. 
The event was staged by The Heritage Foundation and attracted many high profile celebrities from the film and entertainment industry in addition to the actor’s close family and friends. The unveiling was performed by Sir John’s daughter Juliet Mills together with Foundation President, Robin Gibb CBE. 
Having been delayed by heavy traffic,  daughter Hayley Mills arrived just in time join in the photo call for the unveiling and then take part in the rest of the days celebrations which included a buffet lunch, served in a marquee in the grounds of the studios, with entertainment provided by Rick Wakeman, David Benson and Stewart Nicholls. 
Among those speakers paying tribute to Sir John were; Juliet and Hayley Mills, Max Caulfield, Sylvia Syms OBE and Chas McDevitt.

© Doug McKensie

Jeffrey Holland - Heritage Foundation Tribute Luncheon

Two hundred guests packed The Adelaide Suite of The Marriott Hotel, Regents Park, London last week for one of The Heritage Foundation’s most memorable events to be staged in recent years, a Tribute Luncheon given in honour of Jeffrey himself. Accompanied by wife Judy Buxton, son Sam, daughter Lucy and son-in-law Darren, the event was organised in recognition of Jeff’s contribution to the world of entertainment, not least his iconic character creations throughout the entire Croft, Perry and Lloyd ‘Golden Age of Comedy’.
With a guest list that read like the cast of a  Royal Variety Performance, proceedings began with a drinks reception and photo call before the serving of a delicious three course luncheon, followed by a video montage of Jeffrey’s career and tribute speeches from Jimmy Perry OBE, Vicki Michelle and Charles Garland. But with so much wall to wall talent in the room, the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the entertainment provided, in the main by Jeff’s friends and colleagues. Magician Matt Grindly delighted and amazed with his incredible illusions, while pianist Bobby Crush brought guests to their feet with his request medley. He was then joined by Hi De Hi co star Su Pollard who topped the bill with her show stopping performances of Stairway to Paradise and You’re My World interspersed with some outrageous comedy interludes for which she is so well loved.
For Jeff it was an emotional day he will never forget. “What a day for me!” he exclaims. “ It was almost overwhelming to be the subject of a Tribute Lunch, particularly as most of the people that one really wants to be there actually turn up for you! Some wonderful things were said and I was especially delighted that my dear friend Su Pollard was able to sing so beautifully for me! Accompanied no less by the amazing Bobby Crush too! What a treat! To have not just my two children but also Jimmy Perry and David Croft on my table meant the world to me! It was a very special day for me and one that I will never forget as long as I live!”

© Doug McKensie

Royal Theatrical Fund Summer Fayre 2009

The courtyard of the Actor’s Church, St Paul’s, Covent Garden was bathed in glorious summer sunshine for the annual Royal Theatrical Fund ‘s Summer Fayre on July 12th. Hosted by The Royal theatrical Fund and The Grand Order of Water Rats, the event raises money on behalf of both charities for the benefit of members from the entertainment profession and their dependants.
President of The Royal Theatrical Fund Sir Donald Sinden opened proceedings in the presence of the Grand Order of Water Rats King Rat, Tony Sharp and compere for the afternoon, Keith Simmonds. With the grounds packed with stalls and attractions, not forgetting the many celebrities in attendance, Jeffrey and Judy were among those in great demand in the autograph tent where the public were able to buy an autograph book and have it signed by giants of the entertainment world present including, June Whitfield CBE, John Nettles OBE, Victor Spinetti, Rula Lenska and many more.
Musical interludes were provided The Bill Geldard Big Band and Michael Howe, with the party atmosphere greatly enhanced by the seemingly limitless supply of Pimms. Also very popular were Jimmy Perry’s stall where it was possible to obtain a personalised Dad’s Army DVD and Roy Hudd’s theatrical ephemera stall proffering a number of Roy’s theatre mementos accumulated from a lifetime in the business.  Said Judy, “It was a really fun day. Everyone worked so hard but had such a good time while helping to make the event a resounding success.”
Jeffrey visits Hi De Hi Stage Tour
Jeff and his wife Judy Buxton crossed the footlights to take their place in the audience this week, when they attended a performance of the 30th anniversary stage tour of Hi-De-Hi. The show is based on the legendary David Croft, Jimmy Perry television series which dominated the world of British sit-com during the 1980’s and is packed full of fun, songs and opportunities for audience participation. Written specifically for the stage, Croft and Perry’s script brilliantly re creates the perfect atmosphere of the holiday camp throughout the auditorium, in a production that transcends time.
Leading the cast are Maplin’s troopers Barry Howard, who effortlessly steps back into his original role of champion ballroom dancer Barry Stuart-Hargreaves and Nikki Kelly, former Yellow Coat Sylvia, now portraying the role of Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves his partner. For Jeff it was a very nostalgic evening. “When I saw this marvellous show it was like watching my life flashing before me! The cast are sensational and really true to the original characters!
The bonus of course is having Barry Howard and Nikki Kelly back at Maplins as if they had never been away! This show should bring back a lot of happy memories for everyone who sees it – it certainly did for me! A definite must-see for any fan of classic sit-com.
Jeffrey visits Ulverston's Laurel & Hardy Museum
Jeff took a break from performances in Victoria Wood’s play Talent, at the Old Laundry Theatre, Windermere recently when he visited the new Ulverston Laurel and Hardy Museum. Jeff, a huge fan of the comedy legends, opened the original Laurel and Hardy Museum located in Brook Street in 1983 at the invitation of its founder, the late Bill Cubin. The new building is a far cry from the first but Jeff feels sure it would have met with Cubin’s approval. “It’s very different,” he explains. “But I think Bill would have been very proud to see it. The old one was just a couple of rooms but this is quite something.” 
The museum houses a collection of Laurel and Hardy memorabilia including over 1,000 photographs and personal items of Stan and Ollie supplied by Lois Laurel (Stan's daughter) and Lucille Hardy (Ollie's widow). Among the prized mementos is a silver cigarette case which once belonged to Stan's father.  
Following his trip to the museum, Jeff paid a visit to Stan Laurel’s birthplace in Argyle Street and then popped into the Stan Laurel pub for a quick bite to eat. “This has helped to make up for missing the unveiling of the Laurel and Hardy statue earlier in the year,” said Jeff. “I would love to have been there for that but I was touring in the 25th Anniversary stage play of Allo Allo at the time and the unveiling happened to be on the one and only Sunday we had a performance of that!”
Heritage Foundation Dad's Army 40th Birthday Party

Jeff and Judy swapped the frantic antics of Cafe Rene and Nouvion this week for a nostalgic visit to Warmington On Sea and Captain Mainwarings Home Guard or to put it another way, they took time out from their current UK tour of Allo Allo to attend the 40th Anniversary Birthday celebrations for Dad’s Army given by The Heritage Foundation at the Grosvenor House Hotel Park Lane, London.
The ballroom was packed with celebrity guests and fans of this iconic TV series, all enjoying a sumptuous three course lunch followed by a charity auction and raffle raising money for The bomber Command  Memorial Fund. Jeff contributed to the auction with one of his now famous caricature drawings of John Le Mesurier. He also won at auction an original piece of sheet music ‘We’re Going To Hang Out The Washing On The Siegfried Line’ which he performed during his audition with David Croft and Jimmy Perry for the Dad’s Army stage show. ‘I’m delighted to have it’, said Jeff. ‘It holds a great deal of sentimental value for me.’
Guests of honour at the event included David Croft, Jimmy Perry and cast members from the series. Clive Dunn flew in from Portugal where he now lives and entertained everyone with some hysterical anecdotes from his career with Jimmy Perry and Bill Pertwee also contributing to the speeches. Other famous names present from the series included Ian Lavender, Frank Williams and Pamela Cundell

© Doug McKensie

The Heritage Foundation Tribute Lunch with Jeremy Lloyd

Jeff and Judy joined a host of celebrity guests at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London this weekend for a tribute luncheon given in honour of actor and writer Jeremy Lloyd by The heritage Foundation. Jeremy is responsible for such iconic TV series as Allo Allo and Are You Being Served both of which have played a significant part in Jeff’s career. Not only did he appear in two episodes of the latter but has recently made his stage debut in Allo Allo as Rene Artois in which he stars with is wife Judy Buxton and original series star Vicki Michelle.
The event was hosted by Ian Freeman with the help of Vicki Michelle and tribute speeches were made by writer Jimmy Perry and actors Vicki Michelle and John D Collins. Following lunch, a celebrity auction and raffle were held with proceeds donated to the Bomber Command Memorial Fund. Celebrity guests included Jean Fergusson, Burt Kwouk, Anne Charleston, Juliette Kaplan, Frank Williams and Robin and Dwina Gibb.

© Doug McKensie

The Alan Titchmarsh Show

Jeff and actress Vicki Michelle joined Alan Titchmarsh on the 100th edition of his afternoon chat show this week, to help promote the 25th anniversary UK theatre tour of Allo Allo. Jeff also talked about his time in Hi de Hi, what it was like to replace Gorden Kaye as the legendary Rene Artois in allo Allo and the reasons behind the show’s success.
Dad's Army Reunion - 40th Anniversary 2008
2008 marks the 40th Anniversary of the screening of the pilot episode of the much loved comedy classic Dad's Army and Jeff joined members of the cast at the Imperial War Museum on the 10th July for a birthday bash to celebrate the event.
Dad's Army was instrumental in launching Jeff's career having starred in an episode of the TV series in addition to both the West End and national touring musical stage versions of the show. Despite many of the veteran cast now being in their 80's all were in fine form.
Those present included Clive Dunn, Ian Lavender, Bill Pertwee, Frank Williams, Pamela Cundell and Eric Longworth with David Croft & Jimmy Perry. They were joined by wartime Forces sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn who was there to 'see the boys.'
Paul Elliott - 50 Years in Show Business
Jeff was at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London this Sunday 8th June 2008 when he joined an esteemed guest list of a party thrown by theatre producer and entrepreneur Paul Elliott to celebrate his 50 years in show business. 
Those present included many performers who have worked for Paul over the years plus Danny La Rue, Eric Sykes, Russ Abbott, Donald Sinden, Barbara Windsor, Lesley Joseph, John Barrowman and Vicki Michelle. Entertainment included a speech from Paul outlining the high spots of his career to date.

© Doug McKensie

Vicki Michelle - Heritage Foundation Tribute Luncheon
Jeff and Judy were at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Sunday 27th April 2008 to join in the celebrations of a Tribute Luncheon given by the Heritage Foundation in honour of actress and friend Vicki Michelle. The couple were among over 200 guests, many from the entertainment world who enjoyed a 3 course gourmet lunch in 5 star surroundings followed by a question and answer session with the cast of Allo Allo and a celebrity auction, the proceeds of which were donated to the EABF and The Dream Factory, a charity of which Vicki is a patron. One of the auction items, a caricature of Carmen Silvera was drawn and donated by Jeff.
Later this year Jeff and Judy will star alongside Vicki in the UK National 25th Anniversary tour of Allo Allo.

© Doug McKensie

Hi de Hi Reunion 2007
The first official Hi de Hi reunion took place in October 2007 at the Cliff Hotel, Dovercourt, Essex and marked the 20th Anniversary of the final episode of the sitcom being screened on BBC1. The event which took place over 2 days proved highly successful and has prompted plans for a further reunion in 2009. 'Everyone had a wonderful time,' said Jeff 'and it was great to go back to the hotel where we all stayed during the filming.'
No expense was spared when it came to detail, for example the organisers even arranged to set up a press call for Su Pollard and the Hotel's Parrott whom she had taught to swear back in production days.
During the course of the weekend, writer's David Croft and Jimmy Perry unveiled a plaque in the hotel to commemorate the production for which several framed photographs can now also be seen around the building.
For the main celebratory dinner, the function room was transformed into the camp's Hawaiian ballroom, complete with bamboo wallpaper and staff resplendent in grass skirts. There was even a blackboard with flashing light and message reading 'Baby crying in chalet.....' Jeff led a couple of songs including Son's of the Sea and Goodnight Campers and there was a ceremonial cutting of a cake but undoubtedly a highlight of the weekend was Su Pollard arriving, dressed in full costume as Peggy, having put together her own little act for the fans complete with to references to Miss Cathcart.
In addition to Jeff and Su, only 3 members of the original cast were able to attend due to work commitments. They were Nikki Kelly (Yellowcoat Sylvia) and the Webb Twins (Yellowcoats Stanley & Bruce).
Jeff's 40 Years In Show business
On 17th July 2007 Jeff celebrated 40 years in show business having made his professional debut as Frank Mullins, the Judges Clerk in Henry Cecil's play No Fear or Favour at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham.
To mark the occasion, Jeff held a Sunday lunch party at the Richmond Gate Hotel. Accompanied by Judy and daughter Lucy, Jeff welcomed many distinguished guests from the world of show business with whom he has worked over the years and who have played a major part in his career. Among those included were Paul Elliott, Ray Cooney, David Croft, Jimmy Perry, Dirk Maggs, The Simmonds Brothers, Carolyn Lyster and Trevor Bannister. 
Also present was actor Raymond Bower who had appeared with Jeff in his debut production and presented his fellow performer with a copy of the play in book format to mark his anniversary.
Royal Meeting
A recent highlight in Jeff and Judy's social calendar came with an invitation from friends to attend a charity polo match in the heart of Gloucestershire. For Jeff it was his first visit to such an event and was somewhat staggered at the obvious dangers and speed involved. 'I found myself standing on the side shouting things like be careful, that's our future King!' he laughs. 
Afterwards prior to a Black Tie Dinner, Jeff was privileged to meet HRH Prince Charles during which time they described the sport and the injuries the Prince has incurred over the years.
Royal Gala Performance
In July 1990, Jeff was greatly honoured to appear by Royal Command, in the Queen Mother's 90th Birthday Gala Performance staged at the London Palladium. The show's theme was musical theatre during the life of the Queen Mother and which began with Jeff and his fellow co stars opening the show with a number from Floradora, Tell Me Pretty Maiden. With the men dressed in frock coats and top hat and the ladies in crinolines , Jeff describes the number as more of a sedate promenade than dance. His partner was Anneka Rice with Lionel Blair, Bonnie Langford, Christopher Cazenove, Angharad Rees and Jenny Wren all taking part.
Following the show, Jeff was privileged to meet several members of the Royal Family including Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, The Queen, and Princess Margaret.
Ray Cooney Garden Party

Over recent years it has become the tradition for the master farceur Ray Cooney to host a summer garden party in the grounds of his Essex home to which he invites all those with whom he has regularly worked during his illustrious career. Always a memorable occasion, this year’s event took place on Sunday 9th September and of course Jeff and Judy were among the esteemed guests. Both actors have major Cooney links having performed his works in London’s West End, on UK tours and abroad. They also recently appeared in the new film version of Run For Your Wife due for cinema release on Valentine’s Day 2013. As ever, guests were invited to enjoy good food, great wine and a little light entertainment in relaxed surroundings while reminiscing over old times and discussing latest projects. This year the main topic of conversation was not surprisingly centered on the forthcoming film release. Among it’s cast members present on Sunday were; Sir Donald Sinden, Christopher Biggins, Lionel Blair, Louise Jameson, Su Pollard, Frank Thornton, Giles Watling and Vicki Michelle. Other celebrities in attendance included; Joan Collins, Sir David Jason, Joe Brown and Sue Holderness.
Heritage Foundation - John Sullivan Blue Plaque Unveiling

The Heritage Foundation unveiled it’s latest Blue Plaque at Teddington Studios in Middlesex on Sunday 22nd July. It was to commemorate the life and work of comedy writer John Sullivan OBE who was responsible for some of Britain’s best loved sitcoms including; Only Fools and Horse, The Green Green Grass, Just Good Friends, Citizen Smith and Dear John. The sole task of hosting the event fell to Jeff who was accompanied on the day by his son Sam Parkes. Following an introductory speech underneath the plaque, Jeff handed over to Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst who paid tribute to the man who had played such a major part in their careers before performing the unveiling along with members of John’s family. The formalities over, guests transferred to The Lensbury Hotel and Country Club for a celebration lunch. It was here that Jeff took full control in a role that has become second nature to him these days. Among his tasks were to read a tribute message from absent President Vicki Michelle, introduce guest speakers Sir David Jason and Gareth Gwenlan, make presentations to John’s widow, Sharon Sullivan and Bomber Command’s Air Commordore Charles Clarke OBE, team up with comedian Bobby Bragg to conduct the celebrity auction and carry out the all important raffle. Other celebrity guests in attendance included; John Challis, Sue Holderness, Paul Nichlas, Jan Francis, Peter Hepplethwaite, ella Kenion, Jack Doolan and Les Reed OBE.
Anderida Writing Circle

As has become the custom in recent years, Jeff and Judy travelled to Eastbourne on the 10th July to take part in this year’s annual Anderida Writer’s Circle Competition. In his capacity as Patron, Jeff and Judy read out all entries in front of an audience of members prior to judging the winners. This year they were joined by Dec Cluskey, member of The Bachelors singing group and his wife Sandy. A question and answer session and writers forum followed the competition. As ever, the standard was very high with some worthy winners, several of whom are already published authors.
Heritage Foundation - Harold Abrahams Blue Plaque Unveiling

Jeff was in Bedford on Sunday where he represented the Heritage Foundation in his role as Vice President, at a Blue Plaque unveiling in honour of the former Olympic Sprint Champion Harold Abrahams CBE. Even torrential rain did not dampen the spirits of the crowd as Jeff spoke of The Foundations work in providing such plaques before handing over to world-renowned athletics coach Tom McNab who spoke of Abrahams achievements and Alan Wells the 110m Olympic Champion of 1980 who performed the unveiling. The crowd was entertainment before and after the event by the Salvation Army Band and the choir of St Paul’s Church who sang Jerusalem. Following the formalities a buffet reception was held at the nearby Howard Room. Also in attendance were members of Abraham’s family, Mark Ryan, author of Running with Fire and the Maldives Olympic Team.
Heritage Foundation - Richard Wilson Tribute Lunch

TV favourite, the much loved Richard Wilson best known for his roles as the grumpy Victor Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave and currently as Gaius in Merlin, was the subject of a Tribute Luncheon for The Heritage Foundation in London on Sunday. Jeff and actress Vicki Michelle repeated their now familiar roles as co hosts leading proceedings which included footage of Richard’s career, tribute speeches from Arabella Weir and John Michie and entertainment by Ben Stock and David Benson. They also joined forces to persuade guests into parting with their hard earned cash at the celebrity auction while Jeff’s wife Judy drew the raffle. A new addition to this event was the Parkinson style question and answer session conducted with the actor during which jeff and Vicki chatted on an informal basis discussing various aspects of Richard’s career, charity work and interests. Special guests attending included Annette Crosbie, David Renwick, Angus Deayton, Owen Brenman, Doreen Mantle, Jimmy Perry, Lorraine Chase and Christopher Fulford.
Heritage Foundation - Jet Harris Blue Plaque Unveiling

It was a red-letter day for Jeff this Sunday when he was formally announced as Vice President of The Heritage Foundation for 2012. Jeff has enjoyed a long association with The Foundation and the announcement of his appointment was made at the charity’s first Blue Plaque unveiling of the year in hour of the legendary Jet Harris OBE, bass guitarist and former member of The Shadows. Jeff joined forces with President Vicki Michelle to co-host the event all of which helped to make the day more special on a personal note, Jeff being a huge Shadows fan! Jeff contributed to proceedings at the unveiling itself, which was conducted by Bruce Welch, Marty Wilde and members of Jet’s family on the site of the musician’s former home. Then it was back to The Marriott Hotel in Regents Park for a tribute luncheon. Here, Jeff and Vicki took control of the afternoon with Jeff’s background knowledge of Jet’s work proving an invaluable asset to the planning of the event. Tribute messages from Sir Cliff Richard and Brian Locking were read by Vicki with Jeff introducing the speakers of the day and entertainment, which was provided, by David Hook, Kevin Dean and The Shadowers who were joined for the occasion by Mike Berry, Clem Cattini and Mo Foster. Jeff and Vicki were also on hand to lead the celebrity auction and raffle. A thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all and one which Jeff will long remember as giving him the opportunity of meeting some of his long standing idols! The celebrity guest list also included;, Brian Bennett, Hal Lindes, Les Reed, Julie Rogers, Jilly Johnson, Chas McDevitt, Jean Fergusson, Robert Duncan and of course Jeff’s lovely wife, actress Judy Buxton.
David Croft Memorial Service

Last Thursday was a day of mixed emotions for Jeff and his wife Judy as they bade a fond farewell to writer and producer David Croft OBE at a memorial service held at St-Martins-in-the Fields. Not surprisingly the occasion was attended by many former cast members of Croft’s legendary shows and for Jeff in particular it proved a particularly poignant event having played roles in all his major series and stage shows including his recent performances as Rene in the 25th anniversary tour of Allo Allo. The service was conducted by the Rev. Richard Carter and Canon Sally Fogden. Tributes were paid by fellow writers Jimmy Perry OBE and Jeremy Lloyd alongside leading dignitaries from the BBC. Su Pollard sang a composition by David Croft and Cyril Ornadel entitled Follow Your Heart while the choir performed a medley of the music from Hi de Hi, Allo Allo, You Rang M’Lord, Oh Dr Beeching, Dad’s Army and It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, specially arranged by Rick Wakeman. Other former cast members present included: Paul Shane, Ruth Madoc, Clive Dunn OBE, Windsor Davies, Vicki Michelle MBE, Gorden Kaye, Sam Kelly, Arthur Bostrom, Pamela Cundell, Barry Howard, Ian Lavender and Frank Thornton.
Heritage Foundation - Presidential Lunch

Jeff was at The Marriott Hotel in Regents Park, London on Sunday where he hosted a special luncheon given to announce the appointment of The Heritage Foundation’s new Annual President, Vicki Michelle MBE. The actress has supported the charity since it’s inception almost twenty years ago and has taken over the role from pop icon Robin Gibb CBE. A major event in The Foundations’ calendar, it was an occasion to which Jeff rose with great aplomb. Proceedings began with the official handover followed by a delicious three course meal before Jeff took to the stage to introduce actress Su Pollard who paid tribute to her friend Vicki in her own inimitable style. Guests were then treated to a fabulous line up of entertainment provided by international singing legend Rose-Marie, wizard of the keyboard Rick Wakeman, West End musical star Ben Stock, 60’s pop idol Mike Berry and King of comedy Joe Goodman. As expected, the event attracted many names from the world of showbiz including; the incomparable Ray Winstone, Christopher Biggins, Lionel Blair, Judy Buxton, Arthur Bostrom, John D. Collins, John Altman, Robert Duncan, Jean Fergusson, Anita Graham and Jess Conrad OBE.
Goon Show Plaque Unveiling

It’s no secret that Jeff is a huge Goon Show fan so it’s perhaps equally no surprise that he could be found in London this week at a plaque unveiling in honour of said Goons. The event took place at The Strutton Arms in Victoria, formerly known as Graftons where the legendary performers met to create scripts in the 50’s, Around 80 fans were present to witness the unveiling and hear a message from Prince Charles, also a massive fan of the series. Joining Jeff were actor John Glover and members of The Goon Preservation Society who rendered a performance of the show’s first script. Also present was Sally Grafton, daughter of the original landlord of Graftons, Jimmy Grafton. The plaque was sponsored by The Goon Show Preservation Society with the day being heralded as a great success.
The Alan Titchmarsh Show

With the sad passing of the iconic writer and producer David Croft OBE last week, Jeff has not surprisingly been in demand with the media, to talk about the man who cast him in so many of his legendary series. Following an interview for ITV’s News at Six, Jeff teamed up with to other Croft, Lloyd and Perry stalwarts and friends, Vicki Michelle, famed as Yvette in ‘Allo’ Allo! and Melvyn Hayes, best known as Bombardier Beaumont (Gloria) in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, to pay tribute to the on The Alan Titchmarsh Show. The trio reminisced on their experiences of working with the comedy genius as well as discussing why they felt his shows were so successful. The interview included clips and stills from Croft’s most popular creations.
Anderida Writing Circle

Jeff and Judy travelled to Langham’s Hotel in Eastbourne this week for the 2011 Anderida Writers Circle competition. It is the high spot of the year for members who meet on a regular basis to hone their writing skills. Each year, the event is becoming more popular with those taking part able to submit entries in a variety of categories. Jeff and Judy’s role in proceedings is to read out each entry thus bringing the works to life. “The standard is rising each year,” said the couple following the prize giving. “This year in particular, we feel the entries have reached a new level and it’s getting much harder to judge.”
The Greatest Show In The Galaxy

Memorabilia came to the Peterborough Arena for the first time this week and was billed as the Greatest Show in the Galaxy! It’s title was doubtless based on the huge, high profile sci fi guest list which included stars from series such as Star Trek, Voyager, Dr Who, Blakes 7 and Torchwood to name but a few. Visitors were able to take part in photo shoots, Q and A sessions and buy signed memorabilia from numerous traders and stall holders. Jeff was joined on the day by fellow Hi de Hi cast members, Paul Shane and Barry Howard. The main attraction of such events is to provide fans with a golden opportunity of meeting their idols and this occasion did just that for one very special little boy, Kian Mares aged 4. Kian is one of Jeff’s biggest fans and particularly loves watching DVDs and repeats of Oh Dr Beeching whenever he gets the chance. So much so that he sings the theme tune all day long! As a special birthday treat, Kian’s Dad wrote to Jeff a few months back requesting a signed photo for his son who, as the photo below shows, was clearly delighted with it. Thanks to the memorabilia event, Kian was able to go one step further and actually meet Jeff in person, accompanied by dad Mark. In no way overawed by the situation, Kian happily chatted to Jeff and posed for a photo. What a smile! Now that really is the stuff memories are made of. Thanks to Kian’s mum and dad, Mark and Emma Mares for permission to use the photos.
Dads Army Day

With wife actress Judy Buxton on tour, Jeff travelled to Bressingham alone this year for the annual Dad’s Army weekend of events. As ever, the occasion was very well attended resulting in the Dad’s Army Museum’s new Marigold Tearooms in Thetford being extremely well patronized! The museum is ever expanding and proving a major landmark in the town. Apart from providing fans with the opportunity to meet the stars of this iconic sitcom, visitors were also able to watch living history displays and view exhibits provided by 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles Living History Group, Norfolk Military Vehicle Group and Wheeler Seam. Music was provided by Newmarket Town Band and Timescape.This years special member’s dinner was held at The Bell, well-known haunt of the Croft family casts over the years. It was attended by among others Jeff, Michael Knowles and John Clegg al of whom contributed witty words to the occasion, helping to make it a resounding success. Other celebrities supporting this year’s event included Frank Williams, Pamela Cundell, Harold Snoad and of course David Croft and Jimmy Perry.

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