Tributes to resort's long-serving Punch and Judy man

Guy Richardson Great Yarmouth Punch and Judy man and artist

Guy Richardson was a talented artist and Great Yarmouth's Punch and Judy man for 20 years. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A talented artist who was Great Yarmouth's Punch and Judy man for 20 years has died aged 88.

As well as entertaining thousands of children on the sands, Guy Richardson was an enormously gifted artist working across a wide range of materials with huge imagination, creativity, and a sprinkling of magic.

Guy Richardson who has died

Guy Richardson was the Punch and Judy professor in Great Yarmouth from 1967 to 1987. - Credit: Archant archive

Born in Chelsea he came to art after a stint doing National Service, graduating from Chelsea School of Art in 1957 and earning a degree in Art History from the University of East Anglia a decade later.

A chance holiday to Lowestoft on a friend's recommendation brought him to the coast where he settled, marrying in Wells, Norfolk, and going on to have three daughters.

Although creating art was the most brightly stitched seam that ran through his life, he is well-remembered for his puppet shows bringing joy and laughter to generations both on the beach and in schools - spanning a host of themes and styles.

Guy Richardson artist and Punch and Judy professor

- Credit: Nick Butcher

In an interview he said it was while working as an art teacher in Lowestoft making puppets with students that he discovered there was no Punch and Judy in Yarmouth.

Stepping in to fill the gap he made his own booth and a cast of characters, the 5p that children gave to "the bottlers" (often one of his daughters) being his main summer income.

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As "Professor Agrippa" he did at least two shows a day and as many as five if there were big crowds on the beach.

Working up to nine puppets he would perform two versions, one in the traditional style involving a crocodile and Mr Punch persuading the hangman to put his head in the noose, and one of his own creation involving two Chinese magicians.

In his final years he suffered with Alzheimer's. His last exhibition was in London around four years ago alongside Mark Burrell and Peter Rudolfo as The North Sea Magical Realists.

Fellow artist Meg Amsden, who worked as his unofficial apprentice, described him as "a wonderful artist, painter and showman."

She added he was "the most wonderful teacher, full of encouragement and praise."

His youngest daughter Georgia said her father also loved reading and walking, as well a being a wonderful father and grandfather making wooden toys and stilts for the children.

Daniel Hanton, who two years ago brought Punch and Judy back to Gorleston said he was inspired by Mr Richardson after watching his shows as a child.

He said: "He inspired a new generation of Punch performers including me.

"His show was the first one I had ever seen. Most days I was taken by my great aunts to the beach during the summer and I would make them stay for every show."

Mr Richardson lived in Loddon, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. Among his works he produced ceramic and relief sculptures based on puppet themes, as well as pastel paintings and his trademark peep-shows.

Three of his models are on display in the British Museum’s permanent collection.

A private family funeral is being arranged.