Report 29th November 2011

Ray Coggan Memorial Lecture

The Chairman, Roy Howard, welcomed Mrs Phyllis Coggan and other friends of Ray to this year’s Ray Coggan Memorial Lecture which was given by Frank Ellis, a veteran member of the forum and a good friend of Ray.

Frank recalled his first meeting with Ray and nicknamed him Pooh-Bah from the Mikado (Lord High Everything Else) because of the wide variety of Ray’s activities as a singer and as a property steward for the church.

Frank’s talk was entitled Jokers Wild, one of the shows in which the Crazy Gang appeared.  The gang comprised Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen, Jimmy Nervo and Teddy Knox, Charlie Naughton and Jimmy Gold and “Monsewer” Eddie “Earl “ Grey with his Cockney Frenchman act.   Frank saw their last show, Young in Heart, in 1961, just before they retired from the Victoria Palace Theatre in London.  The organised chaos of the Crazy Gang’s humour owed much to Fred Karno’s Army, popular around the time of the First World War, but it was actually all very carefully rehearsed. 

As usual, Frank’s enthusiasm for the old-time variety theatre shone through. 

Brian Blakey, another member who knew Ray well, gave the official vote of thanks and Phyllis Coggan thanked members for their support.   She said that she felt that Ray had been with us throughout the morning.

Next year the Fourth Ray Coggan Memorial Lecture will be given by Judge Derek Clarkson as Ray, in addition to all his other activities, was a lay magistrate.

                     John Taylor




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