Felixstowe: The Spa’s St John Ambulance officer clocks up 1,500 shows at the threatened venue

Tony Lazell has seen more shows at the Spa Pavilion than most.

In the last 25 years he has seen 1,500 productions ranging from comedies and pantos, to dramas and musicals.

His attendance will have gone unnoticed by most theatre-goers but there are some who have been thankful for his presence.

Because Tony, 64, is the theatre’s very own St John Ambulance officer, on hand to help those who are hurt or unwell either backstage or in the auditorium.

Tony, from Felixstowe, first started working for the charity in 1984.

During the last 25 years that he has been lending his support to the Spa he has helped celebrities who have collapsed on stage as well as countless theatre-goers who have become unwell during a show.

He said: “There have been incidents when I have been backstage to help people.

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“Tony Jackson, the ex-singer of the Searchers, I helped him when he collapsed on stage and Megs Jenkins when she had a fall outside.”

Testament to his first aid skills is the fact that few of his patients have needed further treatment.

He said: “There are not too many times when an ambulance has had to be called.”

Although he generally remains backstage, Tony has become quite the theatre critic during his years at the Spa.

“Normally I stay in the theatre at the back but I am able to watch most of the shows and I have seen all types over the years – some good , some not so good.”

There are fears his presence will no longer be required following the announcement by Suffolk Coastal District Council that they would be withdrawing funding from the venue in June.

Tony, who is a sergeant with the St John Ambulance, described the venue as his second home, he said it would be crazy if Felixstowe was left without a theatre and gave his full backing to The Evening Star’s Save our Spa campaign.

He said: “It is a must for the town and the community – it would be crazy to have a seaside resort without a theatre.

“I know a lot of people have signed the petition and a lot of them are from people out of town, I just hope the local people will give it a bit more support, that’s what’s needed.”

If you would like to sign The Evening Star’s petition to save the Spa Pavilion visit our office in 172 Hamilton Road or the Spa Pavilion.

Alternatively you can also sign the petition online at www.savethespa.com.