Joyce’s Column: October


It is with great sadness that I am reporting the recent death of Westminster Automatics Steve Brown who passed away on 9th October aged 61 years, 32 of these years he spent in the industry. Steve had battled with cancer for over 2 years, despite this terrible illness Steve never had dampened spirits, he was always cheerful and looking forward to the future, which alas was not to be. The funeral took place at Upminster, Essex and was attended by his family and many friends and colleagues, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his wife Ruby, two children Rebecca and Chris, also to Trevor Longley Steve’s long time partner and friend at Westminster Automatics, you were all very lucky to have this wonderful man in your lives.

Steve (Magic Man) Brown and I first met many years ago when he was doing a magic show at a venue in the south of England and I was astounded at just how good a magician he was, he had the audience wrapped around his finger and the applause he received was just so loud and people shouting out for more. Industry veteran Roy Deeming was also very sad to hear of Steve’s death and he wanted to say a few words about Steve in my column so here goes.

“I have many happy memories of times spent with Steve who was a person that was at ease with everyone he met and his relationship with his customers was always on a one-to-one basis. Not only did we have a great business relationship, we also enjoyed a social relationship together. Our  first meeting together at Westminster Automatics was in the office at Greenford when one evening I was passing the office and saw a light on, so I decided I would pop in an say hello, and Steve made me so welcome – we talked business then Steve took me for a visit to the local pub, which of course ended up late into the night. This was of course totally unplanned and it ended up quite an adventure but then again  anytime spent with Steve nearly always turned out to be an adventure. Finally, I would like to say thank you Steve for so many happy memories and may you now rest in peace, you truly deserve it.”

PR Publicity’s Peter Rubin seems doomed not to attend the ACOS show, this time he was all ready and excited about coming and guess what he went and fell down the stairs at his home on the weekend before the show. Poor Peter he hurt his back, and he has back problems to start with so he didn’t really need anymore, he also hurt his arm and leg and was obviously full of bruises. His fall happened as he was rushing down the stairs to move his car for a neighbour and he got his foot caught in his dressing gown and down he went, if he had had a drink he might have fell differently as you tend to do so, but he was stone cold sober. Peter has a cat named Zigs and when he fell down the stairs Zigs just sat and looked at him as if to say what the hell did you do that for!!! Mind you despite his fall he was still full of beans when he rang me to tell me that he wouldn’t make the show but he has promised he will come to visit me in Oldham in the near future, just hope you make it in one piece Peter. Anyway I’m sure all of us that know Peter would wish him a speedy recovery from his fall.

Harry Levys’ Mick Kennedy recently celebrated his 60th birthday and he and his lovely wife Pin went to Mick’s home county of Cornwall for the celebrations. According to him they had a fabulous time visiting many of his old haunts and meeting up with friends he hadn’t seen for a long time and of course knowing you Mick I suppose to make the celebrations even better the wine and the champagne flowed by the gallons!!! I hope it did anyway and I am pleased my special friend and special person had great celebrations, suppose the next one will be the 65th, please count me in for that one.

IT Imports Ian Motterhead have been on the charity front again, but this time it was his wife Kelly and her best friend Donna who ran the recent Royal Parks half marathon race for GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital) and they completed the race in 2 hours and 20 minutes (Ian says a lot quicker than he could have done it!!) Both ladies said GOSH were fabulous leading up to the race and on the day making a great fuss of all their runners and appreciating all they did for the charity.

Ian and Kelly have a great deal of admiration and owe them many thanks as they have always been on hand for the niece Chloe who has needed GOSH’s support for many years, so they felt that this was one way they could try and repay them a little, mind you notice Kelly did all the hard work! Kelly loves running and aims to run this half marathon race again next year trying of course to beat her time in 2017.  Well done to you Kelly and Donna and if anyone feels that these ladies did well and GOSH is a worthwhile charity to donate to you can do so by going to the following link, which is quite a long one.  jtt redirect

HC Terminals Bob Hepworth and his wife Kathy have also been on their annual charity raising event in Majorca this year it was held at the Villa Italia in Port Andraix and they had 100 guests. They have been running this charity event for Cancer Support Group Mallorca, which is a small McMillan nurse charity on the island for 4 years. This year they raised 10,000 euros and over the 4 years they have raised a fantastic 50,000 euros which is a great feat in anybody’s books, and well done to both of you and your helpers. Bob says he would like to make a comment about one of the raffle prizes namely a bottle of Masons Yorkshire Gin, which was kindly donated by Leeds based Sound Leisure for my Barnardos raffle in Dublin and which was won by 7’s Above Ian Pawson who donated it to Bob for his charity raffle, well this certainly is a well travelled bottle of gin just hope the winner this time drinks it them self or they could donate it to me as I love gin and find Masons very acceptable to the palate.

Well done to Karen Cooke and her team for the magnificent feat in turning the ACOS show that could have been a complete disaster into a great success. The original Chelsea venue of ACOS had problems with a fire and was left without electrics which of course is no use to our trade with our bright flashing machines etc, and she and her team had just one day  to find another venue or have to cancel the show. How she managed to find a new venue this I will never know as not only did she have to find a new venue but all the exhibitors and pre-registered visitors had to be informed, some midnight oil must really have been well burned, but come the opening day of ACOS it was all re-housed in Olympia (where we had shows many years ago) and needless to say all done extremely professionally. Most exhibitors said they enjoyed Olympia and I must admit I found it easy to get around and it had a nice feel about it. Back to Chelsea for 2018 – well we’ll just have to wait and see, but whatever Karen and team ACOS 2017 has definitely earned you feathers in your caps.

GeWeTe’s Aristidis Tsikouras (our Ari) had great problems getting from Germany to ACOS and not down to the new venue either. He was on no other than 3 planes in Germany, the first one he boarded after a while passengers were told they would have to get off and board another plane, once boarded on the 2nd plane the same thing happened yet again and they had to board the 3rd plane, which did eventually take off.  Now if you think that is the end of Aristidis adventure – but oh no he arrived in London but his luggage didn’t, and I know he was still chasing this whilst he was at ACOS, just hope you managed to get it in the end, and that your journey back to Germany was without any adventures.

Staying with GeWeTe Mark Edmundson was looking forward to flying off on holidays to Fuerteventura on the Saturday following ACOS, and he had booked the flight with Ryanair from Stansted and with all the problems that Ryanair have been experiencing he had fingers crossed that they didn’t cancel the flight at the last minute. I did email him and he and his wife Sarah and son Alex had made it to Stansted and I have not heard anything from him again to say he was grounded at Stansted so I am presuming that they got away to their well earned sunshine holiday, after all the sun does not shine quite the same at Stansted as it does in Fuerteventura.

I was on the Electrcoin stand and noticed a serviette with a message in capital letters on it, the message said ‘HAPPY 70TH BIRTHDAY – FRANK BALLOUZ’ well Frank if this really was your 70th I am sorry I missed you to wish you a Happy Birthday, but then again Frank it could be somebody playing a joke on you. I would be surprised if it was your 70th as I still see you as a young man, but then again some people wear better than others.

There will be more chat from ACOS next month


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