Obituary: entertainer Gerry Maycock, known as Uncle Purple, 'wanted to make people laugh'
A POPULAR children’s entertainer who performed to thousands over the years with his puppet and magic shows has died aged 85.
Gerry Maycock, who was known as Uncle Purple, passed away suddenly on 27th July at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, just three days after his birthday.
Gerry, who lived in Ashley, performed with his wife Eddie as the Purple Puppet Theatre Company at private birthday parties as well as Bournemouth’s Showbar and local holiday parks across Hampshire and Dorset.
As he reached retirement, every December Gerry continued to enthral thousands more children, dressing up as Father Christmas for Hoburne Holidays, Stewart’s Nurseries and the UK touring show, Magic of Christmas.
Gerry was born in Wallisdown and started working in the entertainment industry aged 15, gaining his first experience and love of stage and lighting in the variety theatres.
He spent two years of national service in the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving in Germany and Cyprus and was part of a field surgical team at the Suez landings in 1956.
On his return, Gerry became stage manager for Barry Wood Productions and toured pantomimes and summer shows.
Two years in the West End as a lighting operator followed, working at the Wyndham Theatre, London Colosseum and at the Savoy Theatre where he became chief electrician.
He married Eddie, a former dancer, in 1974 and moved to Portsmouth where he was engaged by the Schroder Life group to work with their marketing and training department to make training videos for the sales staff.
He also provided the technical expertise for the overseas conferences in Madrid and Venice.
A one-year engagement then followed at the Apollo Victoria in London, working on many celebrity one-nighters including Neil Sedaka,Teddy Pendergrass and Freddie Star.
Gerry then moved into local authority venues under Dacorum District Council, followed by a move to Saint Albans Civic Theatre and the Hexagon in Reading, where he was technical manager until 1987.
Gerry moved to the Bournemouth area in 1987, where he formed the theatre company and toured venues locally.
His hobbies included building model theatres and producing films using a green-screen and model figures.
Gerry is survived by his sons Lee, Simon and Matthew, daughter Shendah, and seven grandchildren Chris, Nick, Jake, Ella, Harley, Harrison and Ava.
Paying tribute, his family said: “Gerry was such a fantastic man. He had an infectious smile and was always there. He really enjoyed life, he was cheerful, positive [and] saw the bright side of life.
“He had an infectious laugh and was full of creativity. He wanted to make people laugh.”
His funeral was held on 19th August at Bournemouth Crematorium.