My partner, the entertainer Andy Beaumont died after a short, brave fight against a brain tumour aged 53 on November 11.
Born on September 28, 1952, Andy grew up in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire and formed his first group The Dreadnoughts with his brothers Tim and Nicky, sister Jane and cousins Jill and Janet. They performed at local clubs and old people’s homes. At 16 Andy went to London to attend Italia Conti Stage School and began his professional career in films and theatre.
He met up with Billy Pearce in 1971 and formed a song and dance act that took them off to Butlins Margate, for their first summer season. Stanley Joseph of ATS changed their name to The Stewart Brothers and they worked together in cabaret and summer season for three years until Billy decided to branch into comedy but Andy continued as a solo act.
He also had a successful acting career at this time. He played juvenile lead alongside Bill Maynard in BBC’s award winning Play For Today Kisses At 50 and also Speech Day. He also appeared in Coronation Street as Suzy Birchill’s boyfriend for several episodes.
In the late seventies Andy and I, together with his now sister-in-law Chris Beaumont, formed a vocal harmony trio called Young Love, which later became Neon. The group performed around the world, signed a recording deal with EMI and worked in cabaret and summer season all over the UK. We were one of the first acts to perform for the troops in the Falklands in December, 1982.
Our SSVC work also took us to Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Germany, Beirut, Bahrain, Yemen and Indonesia. During our travels we have shared the stage with Ken Dodd, Cannon and Ball, Freddie Starr, The Grumbleweeds, Little and Large, Jim Davidson and Shane Richie.
In the early nineties Andy turned his hand to directing and had great success with several pantomimes and summer seasons for Nick Thomas Entertainments, Qdos and Tony Peers. But Andy was a Jack of all trades. He also had stints running a PA hire firm, Satellite business and was a flight case manufacturer. In between all this we also renovated houses.
The highlight must be the Parascending and jet-ski water sports business that we ran in Lanzarote for two and a half years and still managed to work the cabaret circuit at night.
Andy was a real pro in everything that he did. Always the perfectionist, he would make sure he did everything to the best of his ability. In 2004 Jon Conway asked us to stage yet another comeback into the business and work summer season for Qdos in Boogie Nights. Andy took to the lead role of Roddy like a duck to water and at the ripe old age of 51 he became the sex symbol he always wanted to be.
Jon Conway adds:
Twenty eight years ago, on my very first night as a proper cabaret act, the other turn was Young Love. I was struck by the talent, charm and enthusiasm of those three.
We worked together many times and when Nick Thomas and I started producing shows. Young Love became known as the cavalry. It was 1984 and well before click tracks were invented and we had booked three principals who couldn’t sing in panto at Reading. Young Love arrived like the cavalry on the dress run and sang the whole show from the pit.
I will always remember Andy for finding the best digs. Jersey, Weymouth, Heckmondwike, I would stay with Andy and Paula because their digs were always better than a hotel. If I know Andy he’s probably gone ahead of us all upstairs, just to find good digs.
My favourite Andy story is on The Bernie Clifton All Laughter Show in Broxbourne in the eighties. That tour opened and closed on the same night. A long run for us in those days. The two girls came out first looking glamorous and then Andy would rush out and start the song. This night they had polished the stage so much that Andy slipped and crashed flat on his back. He got up without missing a beat and sang the lyric ‘ I’m Still Standing’. It brought the house down.
That was Andy, in this shrinking world of show-business as we all knew it, I pay my old friend the greatest honour I can: Andy Beaumont was a great pro. And he was taken from us much too soon.