Nancy, was 26 when she left the army and joined the staff of the newly opened Butlins in Filey in 1947. The resort had done its bit for the war effort too, temporarily becoming RAF Hunmanby Moor housing over 6,000 military personnel. At the time, Filey was the biggest Butlins camp, covering 400 acres and accommodating nearly 11,000 campers. It boasted a boating lake, outdoor pool and fountains, indoor pool and the kind of luxuries never before seen in Britain.
Nancy met her husband, Philip, during World War II. She had been a Sargent Major and he a Staff Sargent in the British Army and they proved just the kind of people Billy Butlin was seeking to bring his vision to life. Nancy was soon promoted to hostess and dealt with the VIPs, she got on very well with the boss. Once, Nancy remembers, when dealing with a fundraiser he shouted her name across the room. It brought everyone to a standstill – Billy usually used only surnames or ‘hey you’.
The Sunday evening ‘intake show’ started each week off. There were resident artists including the Beverley Sisters, who were just starting out in their careers when Nancy was working at Filey. And, of course, the Redcoats kept everyone’s toes tapping. Philip was Theatre Manager, responsible for organising all of theshows. As well as the bathing beauty contest for the ladies and the knobbly knees competition for the men, there were wrestling matches in the ballroom and even a ‘Marilyn of Butlins’ competition. Nancy also organised kids’ entertainment including parties for junior guests who had borne the brunt of the War. It was Operation Cheer Them Up!
The Redcoats and entertainers were akin to film stars at the resorts, and were often asked for their autographs by the younger guests. They were only allowed one dance together a night but made the most of it – Philip was particularly admired for his talent. After that, they danced with guests all night long.
Both Nancy and Philip loved working at Butlins, but they eventually left to start a family (they eventually had two children, three grandchildren and one great grandchild). They have very fond memories and amazing stories.