Well-loved Hastings actor dies

John Bailey in the Hastleons 1993 production of Camelot at The White Rock Theatre. SUS-161209-121059001
John Bailey in the Hastleons 1993 production of Camelot at The White Rock Theatre. SUS-161209-121059001

A well-known Hastings actor, veteran of more than 100 productions across a wide range of genres, has died at the age of 85, after a long illness.

John Bailey’s performances on the Hastings stage spanned more than 50 years from the early 1950s right up to 2006.

John Bailey SUS-161209-121112001

John Bailey SUS-161209-121112001

A founder member of the Stables Theatre, John was heavily involved in its conversion from an old Stables block in 1959 and over the years he appeared in many plays there including Dial M for Murder, The Odd Couple and most memorably as Inspector Hubbard in J B Priestley’s An Inspector Calls.

John appeared in many pantomimes with the NALGO Players, directed by the late Reg Taylor, at the White Rock Theatre when, in their heyday during the 1950s and 60s, it was a regular sight to see the ‘House Full’ sign displayed outside. For John, the best of these was a production of Jack and the Beanstalk in which Brenda Clarke, who was playing Jack, caught his eye as she climbed up the beanstalk.

John and Brenda married in 1966 and together were blessed with almost 50 years of marriage.

The Hastleons is a society with which John enjoyed a special affiliation, joining for their 1958 production of Oklahoma in the back row of the chorus and going on to revel in many character roles over many years.

John’s favourite performances include ‘Merlin’ in the acclaimed 1993 production of Camelot and Colonel Pickering in the 2004 production of My Fair Lady.

John served as a member of the committee for many years including a period as the society’s secretary and was honoured in 2013, being made a life member of the society.

Away from the stage, John worked in the treasurer’s department for Hastings Borough Council for nearly 39 years, retiring in 1993 which allowed him to devote even more time to his theatrical endeavours.

During this time he also served as membership secretary to The Hastings Musical Festival.

John is survived by his wife Brenda, children Paul and Cathy and five grandchildren. His funeral mass will be held on Tuesday, September 20, at 11am at St Thomas of Canterbury and The English Martyrs, Magdalen Road, St Leonards. All John’s friends are very welcome to attend.

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