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Colourful life of Great Yarmouth’s Ernest Storry spanned heroic wartime service to celebrity seating

PUBLISHED: 14:41 23 March 2017

Pictures of Ernest Storry who was war time friends with Spike Milligan and Hary Secombe.
PHOTO: supplied

Pictures of Ernest Storry who was war time friends with Spike Milligan and Hary Secombe. PHOTO: supplied

Ernest Storry who has died aged 95 was a master upholsterer whose expert hands covered one of the most famous seats of the seventies.

Pictures of Ernest Storry who was war time friends with Spike Milligan and Hary Secombe.
PHOTO: suppliedPictures of Ernest Storry who was war time friends with Spike Milligan and Hary Secombe. PHOTO: supplied

As well as providing fabric and padding for seaside theatres in Great Yarmouth, Mr Storry’s claim to fame was to have upholstered Ronnie Corbett’s easy chair from which he delivered his rambling monologues, his son Adrian said.

Born in Yarmouth he struggled with dyslexia and never learned to read or write fluently.

But he found his niche in the craft of upholstery providing cushioned respite for some of the highest seats in the land, including at the Houses of Parliament and York Minster.

Having served his apprenticeship at Normans he was promptly let-go once he had qualified to make way for a new cheaper trainee.

Pictures of Ernest Storry who was war time friends with Spike Milligan and Hary Secombe.
PHOTO: suppliedPictures of Ernest Storry who was war time friends with Spike Milligan and Hary Secombe. PHOTO: supplied

Around this time, at the outbreak of the Second World War and on his 18th birthday, he joined the Black Watch and saw active service throughout the six year conflict.

As part of the military force he was involved in some of the major battles of the war including at Tobruk in Lybia, El Alamein in Egypt, and Monte Cassino in Italy where he witnessed horrors he would never forget.

While in the army he met Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe who were serving in similar units.

The three remained good friends, Secombe hauling him up on stage to sing a bawdy song when he appeared in Yarmouth many years later.

Ronnie Corbett, whose famous seat Mr Storry worked on. Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA WireRonnie Corbett, whose famous seat Mr Storry worked on. Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

After the war Mr Storry set up a workshop in Beach Road, Gorleston, where he worked for Normans, Plattens, and Futters as well as for individual clients.

He met Christine Humberstone at the roller skating rink and they married and had one son Adrian.

Over the years he covered seats for whole audiences across the town’s theatres, his tiny terrace in Drudge Road becoming a haven for all the names that were enjoying top billing including Morecambe and Wise, Michael Bentine, and Des O’Connor. He also had a shop in Bells Road.

After Christine died at the aged of 62 in the 1980s he married Ivy and they had some 20 years together before she died.

Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan of the Goons. Harry and Spike met Mr Storry in the war.Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan of the Goons. Harry and Spike met Mr Storry in the war.

Later he lived at Clere House residential home in Ormesby. His son Adrian described him as “quite a character who was always getting into mischief” as well as being kind and honest.

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