Duggie Lea - one of Bridlington's best-loved entertainers - has died

Popular singer Duggie Lea, who entertained audiences in Bridlington for almost 35 years, has died.

By John Edwards
Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 8:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 8:53 am
Duggie Lea
Duggie Lea

Born in Cambridge, his real name was Douglas Papworth and his musical career started as a 15-year-old, using homemade instruments and a microphone made by his father from a hearing aid.

His wife Sue said: "There wasn't a lot of money floating about at the time, having six kids in the family didn't leave much cash spare to be extravagant, but that's Doug, make the most of what you've got, and get on with it, a big lesson learnt from his parents, who were fully supportive."

He wa spart of a group called Matt Pawn and The Tremlows, which played at youth clubs, village halls parties, and even his local Sunday School. After performing at a pub in Cambridge, the landlord offered him an old piano as his payment and the band chose a new name The Bluebirds, going on to play bigger venues and supporting acts such as ThE Shadows, The Searchers and Freddie and The Dreamers.

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In January 1976, Duggie moved to Bridlington, formed another band called The Swinging Bluebirds and was offered a job as bingo manager in Hull. He played at their South Shore Holiday Inn at Bridlington, and at working men's clubs in Hull and the West Ridings.

The following year, he changed his stage name to Duggie Lea, became entertainments manager, then manager, at South Shore Holiday Village, and was offered a summer season in The Michael Barrymore Show at the 3Bs Theatre in Bridlington.

Duggie said he had spent many afternoons playing dominoes with Les Dawson in the Black Bull in Old Town and he welcomed a number of stars from the shows at The Spa to his home in Bridlington.

His sons Shaun and Lee shared his love of music and performed alongside him for many years, before Duggie became a solo artist in 1998 and was a fixture at many pubs and bars around Bridlington.

Excellent guitar skills, and his versatility, which meant he could play material from pre-war singalongs to the latest chart hits, made him one of the area's best-loved performers.

Having been going for over 50 years, he decided to finally start winding down in 2010, and decided to call it a day with a final booking at the Marine Bar on December 29, 2010.

He said: "It's been a pleasure meeting all those people over the years.

Duggie’s grandchildren Curtis and Sherilyn also take to the stage performing and enjoy the lifestyle he dearly loved.