Retired postman Jake Standaloft has been out on the streets again - although in civvies for a change - supporting the 116th Bispham with Norbreck Children’s Gala.
He and partner Pam are patrons of the annual community event, but this year Jake, who will be 75 on September 11, was not in fancy dress.
He says: “From now on I am leaving it to the younger ones and hope over the next few years there will be enough young blood to ensure the gala, and in particular the procession, continues to draw the interest and support it deserves.”
A glance through the Standaloft photograph album shows that over the years family members have been stalwarts of fancy dress!
Jake, of Codale Avenue, Bispham, says: “There were no galas during the war years and I was six when I first took part, dressed as a toy soldier. I won the six and under category, received one shilling (5p) prizemoney, and was hooked.”
Since then Jake and family have paraded around the village in a variety of guises. He says: “It has always been a great Saturday to look forward to and my costumes have gone from the extremes of Dame Edna Everage to Santa Claus.”
Jake has been a scarecrow, joining grandchildren as characters from The Wizard of Oz, a red-cheeked garden gnome and even a curly-haired punk-cum-glamrocker in 1976 - an appearance which scarred his second son Steven, who is now 47.
Jake explains: “He had a star stuck to his cheek made from tin foil and the sun was so strong it burned a mark. He still has that scar.”
Also scarred at the time, but thankfully not for life, was eldest son Gary, now 52, a teacher in unarmed combat, who in 1968 was dressed up for the gala as a female movie star.
Jake says: “It tied in with a well-known film at the time but I cannot remember the title now. Gary was not happy about it and after the judging would not even go in the parade, even though he won second prize in his age group.”
Four years earlier Gary had also been runner-up, outshining other youngsters as a Pearly King (pictured).
In his teens Jake was a member of a gang called The Bispham Boys and is still in touch with many of those old mates from the late 1950s and early 1960s. They are holding a summer reunion at the Red Lion, Devonshire Road, on Saturday August 3 at 1pm... and Jake has promised to leave his Teddy Boy togs in the wardrobe.