Legendary Nanda remembered

NEWS has reached me that the legendary Nanda Lesley, who loved live music and all the fans who attended gigs she organised in Ipswich with her husband Ron, sadly died at the end of June at her home near Torquay.

David Kindred

NEWS has reached me that the legendary Nanda Lesley, who loved live music and all the fans who attended gigs she organised in Ipswich with her husband Ron, sadly died at the end of June at her home near Torquay.

Born in 1925 she was like another mum to all the teens and twenties who packed into the St Matthews Baths Hall and Manor Ballroom in Ipswich in the 1960s.

Ron and Nanda Lesley brought the best bands to Ipswich for fans to enjoy close up and live. Ron died in 2007. This couple travelled to Ipswich every Monday for around fifteen years promoting great gigs.

They started promoting in London in the 1950s with Trad' Jazz.

They packed Ipswich events in the early days at the “Jazz Club” with the likes of Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk bands. By the mid sixties they moved over to blues and rhythm and blues and “Bluesville” was born with regulars Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart and Julie Driscol singing with the band “SteamPacket”, also Cream featuring Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac, Spencer Davis and many more came to town when they were big names. In November 1971 Ron and Nanda brought Led Zeppelin to The Baths Hall, Ipswich for �1 a ticket!

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Nanda treated the bands and the fans with kindness and affection. She would make sure the band had a decent meal at the same time greeting her customers with a big smile on the door. It was nice to notice in a recent interview with Mick Fleetwood when he was appearing at the Regent he remembered Nanda with affection. Rod Stewart was tagged “Rod the Mod” by Nanda who would assure him his hair was just perfect before he stepped on the stage at the St Matthews Baths Hall.

I spoke to Ron and Nanda for a feature in Kindred Spirits around a year before Ron died and they both remembered their Ipswich fans with great affection.

I expect Nanda is now busy organising Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Roy Orbison and a few more for the 'Great Gig in the Sky'.

What memories do you have of this lovely lady who greeted everybody with a big smile and her charming Italian accent?