Joyce Chat Column – July


I received a call from Barry Kirby the other day who informed me that he had broken his leg and he was doing a good turn for a neighbour when this happened. He was helping them to build a rockery in their garden when he slipped and broke his leg. Now his good friend Doug Hession ex Sound Sense who was with Barry when he called me said it wasn’t due to building the rockery his leg got broke, if the truth be known Barry had dropped 10 pence into the rockery and was searching for it. Now Doug I don’t think I believe your story as Barry doesn’t know what 10 pence coins are  – he only deals in at least £10 notes!!  Anyway Barry hope your leg heals soon and you are back out there creating mischief as usual.

Novelty World’s Ian Malpas sent me a photo he’d taken of me at an ATEI at Earls Court, I can remember this now as the bike was not very high and my knees were virtually touching the floor riding it, thanks for the photo Ian it did bring back memories.  When he sent me the photo he also thanked me for all the help I had given him over the years especially when he started in the industry pointing him in the right direction of who was who and what was what, and getting him to attend the Irish show which he has done for many years, and also earned great business from Ireland.

Ian is closing his business and retiring this year in August/September quite a young man to be retiring, but I suppose he wants to spend some of his hard-earned money he has made over the years and I know he likes to travel a lot, first class of course. Now you might think we have seen the last of Ian being as he’s retiring but oh no, he’s threatening to pop into some of the future shows to say hello, I think he’ll just be around forever, we just won’t get rid of him that easy!! Anyway, Ian good luck with the retirement, you’ve worked hard for it and truly deserve it, I just hope it’s a good long retirement you have.

Bandai Namco’s Steve Short emailed me about my report of the death of Peter Cove which I mentioned in my June column, Steve used to work in Park Avenue at Associated Parts And later on Suzo and Peter and his son Gary ran their business from the back of Suzo’s unit, Steve was quite upset to hear about Peter’s passing and commented that Peter was a genuine man and whilst calm and polite he was also forthright and honest. Steve asked me for contact details for his son Gary  which I gave to him, as he wanted to express his own condolences to Gary, just hope the details I gave to you Steve re-united you again with Gary.

Another person the read the obituaries in my June column was Dawn Millroy and she was very sad to hear about the passing of Dave Wilcox and would have liked to attend his funeral. Sadly  Dawn was too late to do this, but said she will keep her lovely memories of Dave and his wife Heather of which most of them are happy ones.

I was sitting in a local hostelry having a quiet drink when in walked the actor Mark Jordon aka Daz Spencer out of the soap Emmerdale, and I was having a chat with him then returned to my seat when all of a sudden there was an altercation at the bar between Mark Jordon and a customer and his wife. The customer and his wife left and went to their car and Mark Jordon followed them in his car to their home, and when they stopped their car Mark Jordon got out of his car and commenced to attack the man biting him 3 times on the face and then going for his eye. Luckily enough an off duty officer was about and saw what was happening and called the police, who came and arrested Mark Jordon. Just goes to show you go out for a bit of relaxation and it ends up with people spoiling it for you. It will be a long time before I venture into this hostelry again or any other that might have soap stars as customers, I just want a quiet life, as who knows next time it might be murder as alcohol does funny things to some people!

Those of us who have been in the industry for any length of time would certainly remember the late Stephen Whatmore chairman of World’s Fair, and it’s nice to see that his son Nick is connected to the industry be it in a totally different role than his late dad. Intrigued? Well then read on! Originally, Nick joined the industry working at Konami with Steve Bierrum and Graeme Noble, but when his dad was taken ill he moved back to Manchester to work at World’s Fair. Staying there until the tender age of 24 he decided to try something different of his own and over the years has had a transport company, been involved in project management in construction, which led him to becoming a small-time developer, which when the opportunity arises, he still does. A motorbike garage was also one of his choices and this led to what he’s doing now as a shareholder and MD of Roadking which is a business that caters for truck drivers looking for overnight accommodation, parking and other facilities, really on a similar basis to motorway services at more competitive prices and more tuned to heavy haulage, but having said that they find that they get their fair share of the general public using their facilities.

With over 200 secure parking spaces per site, fuel, licensed restaurant, accommodation showers and washing facilities they are a truck diver’s dream and are onto a winner, especially with the 2 sites they have. One at Cannock, Staffs. ‘The Hollie’ iss a well-known truck drivers stop and the other is at Holyhead, Anglesey, ideal for truckers both to and from Ireland, as really Holyhead didn’t really cater for them at all.

Now Nick was at the recent Open Day at Park Avenue and unfortunately I missed him, and you might be wondering why he was there, well this was because they have their own Gaming Licence and AGCs operating directly, so he thought the Open Day would be a great chance to renew acquaintance with old friends and look at the opportunity for their business.

Nick said some lovely things about his late dad that it was through him he’d learned a lot as they used to talk business together from Nick being about 18 or 19 and they’d also discuss plans for the future which unfortunately was not to be. He says the conversations he had with his dad were the best and most exciting and that his dad was a good man and he was lucky to have had him for 21 years.

Nick also says he has a lot to thank both Steve and Hans Bierrum and Graeme Noble for, especially Steve, as he learnt a great deal from him. The two photos are of a young Nick with his late dad Stephen and the other is of Nick at the Open Day with Steve Bierrum and Anthony Clerkin. Anthony left Electrocoin to set up the transport business with Nick and is still running this today.

Anyway Nick I hope the Open Day proved to be successful for you and hopefully we’ll see you at some other future exhibitions and on a final note I too have fond memories of your dad as I worked with him for many years at World’s Fair over which time we built up a good relationship and bond between us and developed a trusting and loyal friendship, and I know that your dad would have been extremely proud of you and your achievements and also to know that you still are connected to the industry he loved so much, and an industry that held him in great respect too.



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