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New memorial put in place to honour birdman Percy Edwards at Spa Pavilion

PUBLISHED: 14:07 07 March 2018

Ray Anderson of the Spa Pavilion and members of the Felixstowe Society -  Keith Horn, Roy Gray, Hilary Eaton, Jan Garfield, and Honor Dines - oversee the return of the Percy Plaque. Picture: SPA PAVILION

Ray Anderson of the Spa Pavilion and members of the Felixstowe Society - Keith Horn, Roy Gray, Hilary Eaton, Jan Garfield, and Honor Dines - oversee the return of the Percy Plaque. Picture: SPA PAVILION

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Birdman Percy Edwards was known worldwide as the voice of some of Hollywood’s most famous animals and aliens.

While his fame spread across the globe, he remained firmly rooted in the Suffolk he loved – and now a lost memorial to honour his life has been replaced and returned to where it belongs.

The memorial plaque marking Mr Edwards’ life had hung on the wall of the lounge bar of Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion – where he was a regular performer – but was missing presumed lost when the theatre was taken over by new private owners.

Thanks to the Felixstowe Society, the Spa Pavilion now has a new plaque, once again taking pride of place in the theatre foyer in fond memory of the Bird Whistler.

Chairman Jan Garfield, vice chairmen Keith Horn and Roy Gray, and members Hilary Eaton and Honor Dines, attended the unveiling.

Ray Anderson, director of the Spa Pavilion, said “We would like to extend our grateful thanks to Jan Garfield, chair of the Felixstowe Society, and, of course, its members, too, for kindly arranging this.

“Over the years the Spa has played host to a variety of great names in entertainment.

“The fact that this hugely popular and talented man also came from the county is something we’d like to remember and celebrate for many years to come.”

Animal impersonator, ornithologist, and entertainer Mr Edwards, MBE, was born in Ipswich and lived in Trimley St Martin and Hintlesham. Before he was famous he worked at Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies in Ipswich. He died in 1996.

He was well known across the land for his bird and animal impersonations and would regularly appear on the nation’s TV screens on programmes including the Morecambe and Wise Show and Play School.

At the height of his career he could accurately imitate more than 600 birds, and many other animals. He provided the voices for the killer whales in the film Orca in 1977, the reindeer in Santa Claus: The Movie in 1985, sheep and bird sounds on Kate Bush’s song The Dreaming, and the unforgettable noise of the alien in the 1979 smash hit movie Alien.

The Grand Order of Water Rats’ centenary show at the London Palladium in 1989 was one of his last stage appearances.

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