Duggie Lea, entertainer

Duggie Lea
Duggie Lea
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Douglas Papworth, who has died at 76, was a musician who entertained audiences in Bridlington for nearly 35 years under the name Duggie Lea.

Born in Cambridge, he had begun performing as a 15-year-old, using home-made instruments and a microphone made by his father from a hearing aid.

He was part of a group called Matt Pawn and The Tremlows, which played at youth clubs, village halls and his local Sunday School.

But it was after a gig in a pub, for which the landlord offered his old piano as payment, that he was elevated to the next tier of showbusiness. His band chose a new name, The Bluebirds, and went on to be supporting artists for such top-liners as The Shadows, The Searchers and Freddie and The Dreamers.

In 1976, he moved to Bridlington, formed another band called The Swinging Bluebirds and was offered a job as bingo manager in Hull.

He played at Brid’s South Shore Holiday Inn, and at working men’s clubs in Hull and the West Riding.

The following year, he changed his stage name to Duggie Lea, became entertainments manager, then manager, at South Shore Holiday Village, and was offered a summer season in the Michael Barrymore Show at the 3Bs Theatre in Bridlington.

He recalled spending afternoons playing dominoes with Les Dawson at the Black Bull in Old Town, and at the end of the season, attending a dinner at the Royal Hotel in Scarborough, with Danny La Rue, Jimmy Tarbuck and other summer season stars of the east coast.

His sons performed alongside him for many years, before he became a solo artist in 1998 and a fixture at pubs and bars around Bridlington.

His final appearance was at the Marine Bar in December 2010.

He is survived by his wife, Sue, three children and grandchildren.