From parrots to pop stars, this man guided Great Yarmouth through its showbiz heydays

Leslie Shepherd in his Regent Road tourism office in Great Yarmouth.

Leslie Shepherd in his Regent Road tourism office in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Mercury Library

As a youngster in the north of England, Leslie Shepherd started out winning talent shows as a ventriloquist.

Dubbed Leslie the Wonder Boy this led to a long and colourful career in the showbusiness and entertainment world including being Great Yarmouth’s head of publicity through the 1970s.

In the glory days of the British seaside resort before foreign jaunts and caravan camps changed it forever, Leslie was never short of ideas to promote the town, from parrots to pop concerts.

He was also responsible for running the Wellington Pier, Gorleston Pavilion and other venues including the Winter Garden which he turned into a successful summer Biergarten.

On Thursday, September 14 at Gorleston Library at 2pm he shares his memories in conversation with former broadcaster and Yarmouth Mercury reporter Tony Mallion who covered so many of Leslie’s exploits.

The event will launch the new season of Friends of Gorleston Library talks and events.

“Leslie took part last year as one of a panel talking about the history of Gorleston Pavilion. This attracted a full house to the library lecture theatre but it was obvious he had so many more stories to tell about his fascinating career. We are so glad he agreed to return,” said Tony Mallion.

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“Leslie is a real character whose career included working at the vast Belle Vue complex in Manchester, Butlin’s at Skegness and Dreamland at Margate as well as his time in Yarmouth.

“He came into contact with so many famous stars. This will be a fascinating couple of hours which will bring back so many memories.”

Leslie the Wonder Boy is on Thursday, September 14 at 2pm, in the Lecture Theatre at Gorleston Library. Admission £2, and refreshments will be available.