Drag entertainer Paul Coates was one of the best known performers on the north Wales coast. A clubland comic, he was also an entertainments manager and worked at many holiday centres at Prestatyn, Abergele and Rhyl for more than 30 years.
Born Paul Anthony Stembridge on May 6, 1946 in Leicester, he was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School and as a youngster was something of an entrepeneur. He organised dances and booked bands, including the up and coming group Showaddywaddy.
An accomplished ballroom dancer, he achieved gold, silver and bronze medals for the discipline in his teens.
He formed a drag double act in the early seventies, the Coates Brothers, and later worked as a solo comedian in the Midlands and north-east. His regular advertising matter in The Stage newspaper read: “For a Camp Night Out – Ring for Paul Coates.”
In 1972 he became entertainments manager at the Prestatyn Holiday Centre, remaining there for four years. He was also manager at Presthaven Sands and for 12 consecutive seasons was the popular host at Stones Holiday Centre, Towyn.
As well as performing his own act, he devised and staged full variety shows at all the centres where he worked.
For two years he was entertainments director for CTC Cruise Lines working on the Russian liner Shota Rustavelli cruising the world.
Coates was also a well known pantomime dame and in 1974 appeared with the pop star Heinz at Boston, Lincolnshire.
Friend and former professional partner Dennis Jones told The Stage: “Paul lived life to the full, never afraid to push the envelope, to take a chance and always looking to get the best out of everything he did.
“He loved making people laugh in his cod drag and doing his mimes brilliantly. Most of his jokes were so old they often appeared funnier the second, even third time around. He will be missed by a lot of people.”
He had been due to return as entertainments manager at Stones Holiday Centre this year but died after a short illness on March 22, aged 59. He is survived by his sister, Lyn.
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