Tributes to talent spotter

Bernard Jackson

Bernard Jackson

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THE man credited with bringing talent shows to Blackpool has died, aged 78.

Bernard Jackson, born Bernard Kay, moved to Blackpool from his native Manchester in the mid 1970s and started the resort’s first talent competitions at the Manchester Hotel on the Promenade.

He later had a residency at Uncle Tom’s Cabin on North Promenade during its heyday but it was at the Queens Hotel on South Promenade where he became best known.

“He was there for about eight years and during that time he ran talent shows every week,” said his widow Tina Kay.

“He was the Simon Cowell of his day because he encouraged anyone and everyone to enter. He had a lot of crazy acts but people flocked to see them.”

Along the way he also kick started the careers of Mark Walker – comedian and impressionist son of Roy Walker, and Blackpool vocalist Jacqui Scott.

Originally half of the vocal act the Jackson Brothers with Leslie Lazarus, he took on the Jackson stage name when he went solo.

On arriving in Blackpool the couple originally ran a mini market then a hotel at South Shore.

In more recent years Bernard coupled his evening singing with a day job at the Fylde Electrical Company

“Everybody knew him and he raised lots of money with charity shows for the bind,” Tina added.

“He loved to entertain.”

Bernard was also responsible for getting Channel 4 to film their Old Faces special at the Queens in the late 1980s

Bernard retired about 12 years ago after a hip operation. He suffered a heart attack two years ago and had been ill with heart complications for the last six months, said Tina.

After a spell in Blackpool Victoria Hospital he died at the Sandycroft Nursing Home. His funeral was at Carleton.

Bernard leaves Tina, who he had been with for 54 years, and three children, Stephen, 53, Delia, 51 and Charles, 48.