Ruth Silvestre 1930-2022

Ruth Silvestre

We are sad to report the death of Ruth Silvestre, aged 92. An enthusiastic and active member of the CAA for many years, she served on the committee.

Born in Basingstoke, her mother, who had worked in service as a children’s nanny, would sing Ruth to sleep with a repertoire of music hall songs; Polly Wolly Doodle and Lily of Laguna being two favourites.

The fortune to find a good music teacher at secondary school inspired Ruth to sing and music became “as essential as breathing”. Moving to London to train as a teacher at Goldsmiths she joined dramatic societies and singing groups, enjoying parts in a variety of small productions and then in a professional pantomime one Christmas holiday. After graduating she continued singing lessons with the classically trained opera singer turned teacher, Catherine Rosser. The ensuing friendship continued for many years, Ruth eventually moving Catherine (and her Steinway Baby Grand) into the top floor of her house in Clapham.

An initial spot at Balsam’s restaurant in Mayfair (twenty minutes at 10pm) paved the way to a robust career as a cabaret artist with regular appearances in London at the Dorchester, the Cafe Royal and the Grosvenor House. Endlessly developing her craft and with a fine ear for accent and language she not only could sing Puccini fluently in Italian, but also had a repertoire of French, Yiddish, Hebrew, and Hungarian songs and was adept at holding an audience in the palm of her hand as she skilfully adapted her act to each occasion.

Ruth also appeared on screen and in theatre with parts in Kismet at the Stoll Theatre, Flower Drum Song at the Palace and Man of La Mancha at the Piccadilly. She took over the lead role of Aldonza from Joan Deiner, realising her ambition to see her name up in lights in London’s West End.

Away from the limelight Ruth was generous with her time and talents and she liked to keep busy. As well as singing for friends and family at parties, weddings and ceremonies, she joined Xenia Field’s ‘Old Lags’ prison entertainers, was a trustee of the Cara Trust (founded in 1988 by her cousin, Father David Randall) and also gave home schooling to a succession of troubled children who had fallen outside the educational system.

With her husband, Michael Grater, she bought and restored an old farmhouse in the South West of France where long summers were shared with an eclectic mix of family and friends and locals. Actors, artists, choreographers, directors, farmers, craftsmen, vicars and nuns would come together to share food, wine, music and good conversation. Ruth and her friends effortlessly supplied wholesome food from the tiny rustic kitchen and Mike making sure that everyone’s glasses were full. Diaries from this adventure led to the writing and publication of an acclaimed series of books; the Sunflower Trilogy.

In her later years she found comfort in music and worship at Southwark Cathedral and the Church of the Holy Spirit in Clapham, and was an enthusiastic member of MJ Parazino’s South London Choir. With a wide circle of friends she enjoyed exercise classes, French conversation meetings, book clubs and women’s groups.

In April 2020 she celebrated her 90th birthday at the CAA club with a cabaret dinner for family and friends, giving a robust performance of “Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner”. Her voice was strong and clear, her love for her craft, her family and all of her friends undiminished.

Barrie Stacey 1926-2022

Barrie Stacey

BARRIE STACEY 24th October 1926 – 1st January 2022

It is with great sadness we have received the news that Producer, actor, author, agent, raconteur and true show business legend Barrie Stacey has passed away.

His health had been deteriorating for some time and his partner Keith Hopkins, with the wonderful help of carers kept Barrie comfortable at their apartment. However, Barrie’s condition deteriorated and he was admitted to hospital on 20th December.

Keith says the wonderful Doctors and Nurses looked after Barrie valiantly through his final days.

Barrie was more than just a member of the CAA…he produced numerous shows at the club and was much loved by all.

A fuller obituary will be posted here soon. Meanwhile our thoughts and love are with Keith, Barrie’s partner for some 55 years.

Larry Parker 1929 – 2021

Larry Parker Obit image 1

Larry Parker, comedy magician, passed away peacefully in a care home in Cornwall aged 92 on 17th August, 2021.

Larry was born in Preston while his parents were appearing in a season of plays in the Lancashire town. He was the third generation of a theatrical family. His grandfather was the Edwardian actor-manager, Charles Clifford.

From the age of twelve Larry helped and appeared in his parents’ fit up company, The Kinloch Players, touring villages and towns in the Highlands of Scotland. It was here that he first performed a magic act.

Following his National Service, which he spent mainly in London, his early years were in the theatre, initially as an actor, but developing his talents to become a straight man and juvenile lead in summer shows around the coast of Britain. It was during his time, while in a summer season in Babbacombe, that he met comedienne Rowena Vincent, who he later married.

It was at this point Larry started to develop a comedy magic act which later in his career was to bring him success, not only in Britain, but also internationally. The unique act combining comedy, magic and mime was enjoyed by audiences of all ages and nationalities.

In the 1960’s and 70’s Larry was a regular on children’s television, often seen performing with his faithful friend, Theodore the rabbit. He wrote and appeared in programmes including two series of Whistle Stop, five episodes of Jackanory and was also in several other popular children’s programmes of the time, including Crackerjack, The Sooty Show, Blue Peter and Magpie. His first break through came in the late 1950’s, appearing and writing “Happy Go Lucky”, a children ‘s television series for Tyne Tees Television, which ran for six years.

Larry Parker obit 02

It was in the 1970’s that Larry became a regular on British television, with his own brand of comedy magic, making regular appearances on shows such as the Good Old Days, 321, Seaside Special and many other variety shows of the day.

When not on television he continued to work in summer shows and the clubs around Britain as well as completing a year long run in the Max Bygraves Show at the Victoria Palace in London and a short season at the London Palladium with the Two Ronnies. His proudest moment though came in 1975, when he appeared in the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium in front of Her Majesty the Queen.

In the 1980’s, as the club scene dwindled in the U.K. and summer seasons became shorter and scarcer, Larry turned his attention to the Continent where speciality acts were in high demand. Working in top night spots including Paris, Brussels, Barcelona, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Rome, Larry’s combination of magic and visual humour was perfect for an international audience.

Always quick to adapt to the latest trend, Larry also saw an opportunity in the increasingly popular cruising market and during the late 1980’s and 90’s became a regular on both P&O and Cunard cruise ships.

Following the death of his wife, Rowena, in 1997 Larry moved to Cornwall, where he continued to entertain at children’s parties and local fayres. His final years were spent in Mousehole, a beautiful fishing village situated between Penzance and Lands End, where he spent many happy hours taking in the harbour views.

Although throughout his career he was known as a comedy magician, Larry was interested in all forms of magic and was a member of the Inner Magic Circle. He was also a member of the theatrical club, the CAA, and served two terms as the club’s President, as well as writing a book to commemorate the club’s centenary. Larry’s other great passion was the Players Theatre, a Victorian musical theatre club based in London, where he performed on a regular basis whenever he could.

Larry will be sadly missed by his son, Robin, and his three grandchildren, Rebecca, Sophie and Ewan.

A Tribute to Ron Wallace

Ron WallaceIt is with great sadness that I have to announce the passing of our dearly loved Honorary Life Member Ron Wallace.

He joined the club in the 1980s and very quickly became an indispensable member of the Club and Committee when he took on the onerous task of ALL our maintenance ( overseeing it all and actually physically ” doing” much of it!!) We can never repay his kindness!

He also took over the organisation of the CAA Ex Servicemen’s Club. Organising their Annual Dinner. He gave tirelessly of his many talents.

Both he and his wonderful wife Mena used to help on all of the Club functions in many, many ways.

A “Thank You Ron” just does not seem sufficient for all that we owe you at the Club! Yours & Mena’s friendship has sustained me in hard personal times too as I know you have helped many members personally over the years!

There is a gaping hole in the Club now and indeed on the Committee! Ron’s was the guiding hand during all building work carried on over the last 30 + years.

On behalf of myself, the Committee, and all of the CAA we send condolences to Ron’s beloved family, his children Ruth, Claire, Robert and Jasper his Grandson and his Son in Laws. They and we can never replace him!

All our Love and Thanks to you Ron

Rest in Peace.

Kay , on behalf of everyone at the CAA .

The Final Curtain

updated Jan 17th 2022

It is with great sadness that we list the following members in no particular order who have  passed away since early March 2020…
ROY HUDD
DAVID ROWLEY
MICHAEL SADLER
KEN JOY
JOANE HALL
WALLY K. DALY
JOY GRAHAM
TONY DAVEY
JEANNIE MITCHELL
HARRY DICKMAN
PETER KELSEY
CHARLIE NOBLE
KENNETH LAWRIE
JENNY MAYNARD
MAUREEN FAWSITT
DOREEN HERMITAGE
JOSEPHINE GORDON
FELICITY HAYMAN
KENNETH WOOD
JOHN JACKSON
BARRIE STACEY
PETER DURRANT
EDWARD LEE
RISSA COOPER
JEFF WAYNE
SIMON PARR
RAYMOND ATKINS
SAM SORAF
JOAN BLACKHAM
GERALDINE CHALMERS
STEVAN HESZELTINE
RON WALLACE
PAUL HIGGINS
ANTHONY PARKER
LARRY PARKER
BRIAN MASTERS
HILARY YOUNG
ROY TRANKLE
DAVID CARTER
CLIVE STOCK
STAN SHERIFF
RUTH SILVESTRE

Jeannie Mitchell

It is with great sadness that I tell you of the death of Jeannie Mitchell. 

Jeannie worked so hard for our Club; always giving of her time and efforts whenever they were required.

She was our Chairman in the past and also organised the Social Events for many years, creating lots of happy and varied functions for the members and their guests to enjoy! 

She was always willing and happy to sing for us on our Monday Night Shows. She was a true stalwart member and greatly loved by us all!

We will certainly miss her and we will raise a glass or 2 or 3 or maybe more to her when we return to our Club!!!!!! 

Thank you dear Jeannie for all that you have done for us at the CAA. 

RIP Lovely Lady. 

Kay XXX

Joane Hall

JOANE HALL 28th February 1921 – 8th May 2020

Joane was a remarkable lady who was blessed with a great sense of humour, stamina and a zest for life. She was born in Newcastle and joked that she danced her way out of her mother’s womb!

At the age of 14 in 1935 she left home to appear in a pantomime troupe – The Zio Angels. During the Second World War she joined ENSA and entertained our troops overseas including a tour of Africa.

Joane recounted many stories at the CAA about her wartime escapades. One memory she shared was being allocated a cabin en route to Africa with a nun. Apparently Joane had her eye on a handsome sailor but the Nun’s party on board were closely chaperoned, which made any nocturnal liaison Joane had in mind impossible!

During and just after the war Joane worked in theatre as an actress and dancer. Between engagements she had a variety of jobs including working in an ammunition factory, Civil Nursing Reserves and a waitress in an Italian restaurant.

She was a dresser at the London Palladium for numerous stars. Indeed Frank Sinatra insisted on Joane as his dresser whenever he played the Palladium. Joane’s TV appearances as an actress included ‘The Bill’ and ‘Father Ted.’ She also played Vera in the television drama ‘Pat and Margaret’ written by Victoria Wood.

When ‘Cats’ went to Broadway in 1982, the show’s choreographer Gillian Lynne asked Joane to accompany her as her assistant and friend. In 1988 she became Queen Ratling with CAA stalwart Roy Pyke as her escort. Although Joane never married, she says she had received 28 proposals of marriage and was actually engaged at one time to a lion tamer.

She was a great friend of Roy and Debbie Hudd who even named their dogs after her. Dean Caston says how delighted he was when she agreed to do ‘An Evening With Joane Hall’ in March 2017 at the CAA for one of the BMHS Limelight series. Dean visited Joane at her flat in Charing Cross Road several times and was enthralled by her stories.

Sadly Joane was eventually unable to look after herself in her flat, so in early 2019 she moved into a retirement home where she passed away aged 99. Her funeral service at Golders Green Crematorium could only host 8 people because of the covid 19 crisis.

Joane had so many friends who adored her and she was always so popular on her frequent trips to the CAA. The club intend to organise a special memorial celebration of her life next year to mark her centenary.

CAA Past President ROY HUDD

Roy Hudd Portrait
Roy Hudd (Past President of the CAA)

Roy’s wife Debbie has been in touch regarding Roy’s funeral and Memorial Service arrangements. The funeral will take place on the 3rd April but, due to the Coronavirus, the service will be held outside the church and with close family only.

Debbie has booked the Actor’s Church in Covent Garden on the 25th September for a Memorial Service. Let’s hope that by then things will have started to get back to ‘normal’ as so many of you will want to attend.

Please check back to this website for updates.

Help for Self-Employed Members!

Updated 28th November 2021

Dear Self Employed “A” members,

In these unpredictable and difficult times the club can help?

” The Benevolent Fund of the Concert Artistes Association is established for the relief of distress of “A” Members or their dependents in necessitous circumstances. “

So the Trustees of the Benevolent Fund are ready to take your calls. All confidentially. Call

Barbara Daniels. 01923 771030. Head Trustee. or email

barbara.humphrey@ntlworld.com

Our professional B members who are also self employed in Show business. We have our Samaritan Fund that may be able to help in some way. Please call myself, Kay Carman, on

0207 254 6074. email

kcarman.nuttall@outlook.com

We hope of course that the Government may come up with a package to help all of those in our Business as they have with other people, but until they do we also have the 2 funds of our Club that will help our members. All in confidence.

Don’t be down hearted! Your CAA. is here to help!

Keep Smiling!!!

Love from Kay!

Onwards & Upwards!! Be positive!!!

David Carter’s Celebration Service

David Carter

DAVID CARTER’S FUNERAL SERVICE

David’s funeral took place on Monday 23rd March in West Sussex. His partner Paul has decided to defer the date of David’s Celebration Service at St. Peter’s Croydon until a time when everyone is more comfortable about travelling and being around others. He is sure everyone will understand that when times are happier and safer, we can all get together to give David the final send-off he deserves, celebrating his life and music.

Meanwhile you can still make a donation in David’s memory. Donations will go to ‘Future Talent’ – the UK’s leading charity who help young gifted musicians, providing tuition, and performance opportunities that they would otherwise never experience. Donations can be sent to Alex Jones Funeral Directors, 92 Station Road East, Oxted, Surrey RH8 0QA

Paul thanks everyone for their continued love and support. Details of the Celebration will be posted here as soon as known.