Felixstowe: Lenny Henry is disappointed by the potential closure of the Spa Pavilion

Popular comedian Lenny Henry today spoke of his disappointment that the Spa Pavilion is facing closure next year.

The popular performer, originally from the West Midlands, performed on the Spa’s stage when he was just 19-years-old and has fond memories of the area.

He got his first big break when he won the talent show, New Faces, at 16 and said his performance at the Spa gave him the idea that he could be in show business for a long time.

“I had a big dressing room at the Spa Pavilion,” he said.

“You could dance within its confines. I once grooved to an entire 18-minute long, live version of the Average White Band’s ‘Pick up the Pieces – literally bouncing off the walls.

“The Pavilion was where I had an inkling that I might be in show business for the long haul.

“The management changed the order of the bill, bumping me up to first half closer and Peter (Butterworth) to second half opener, a very significant change of billing.

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“I got to perform for longer and for perhaps the first time since winning New Faces, felt funny again.”

Henry’s comments come as the Evening Star continues its determined fight to save the historic venue.

Suffolk Coastal District Council announced last week that they would no longer be able to fund the building. The council already spends �250,000 a year for a private company to operate it and an options appraisal revealed without significant investment it would quickly become unfit for purpose.

Henry described the potential closure of the venue as a shame and still remembers his time in Felixstowe and Ipswich fondly.

“What a shame,” he said.

“The Spa Pavilion, although an old venue, with rickety, thin walls and old fashioned music hall style billings, was home to me for months in the summer of 77 – I shall remember performing there with fondness.”

The Evening Star’s petition to save the Spa Pavilion is still circulating in the town. If you would like to sign the petition, please visit the Evening Star’s Felixstowe office at 172 Hamilton Road. There are also petitions in the Spa Pavilion.

Why do you want to save the Spa? Who were your favourite performers to grace the stage? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or you can send an e-mail to us at eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.