Old war horse Ian battles on regardless

Ian Coleman and wife Mavis plan the Poppython at home on Devonshire Road.
Ian Coleman and wife Mavis plan the Poppython at home on Devonshire Road.
Have your say

FOR Ian Coleman it is a case of the show must go on – even on crutches.

The organiser of Poppython, an all-day showbusiness bash to raise money for the Royal British Legion, was in the midst of putting the finishing touches to this year’s show when disaster struck.

Mr Coleman bashed his leg and had to be rushed into Blackpool Victoria Hospital for surgery.

He said: “It is difficult enough trying to get an event as big as Poppython done, but when you end up in hospital it makes it even worse.

“I was crossing the road in between two parked cars but there was a towbar sticking out of the back of one that I didn’t see.

“I whacked my leg on it and next thing I know I’m in hospital with a burst blood vessel and a bruise from my backside to the toes.

“To make things worse my wife Mavis has been in and out of hospital with a hip replacement so organising this event has been a bit difficult to say the least.”

After a six-day stay on the ward, Mr Coleman is now back home and promising to be fully recovered in time for Saturday, when this year’s Poppython takes place.

Mr Coleman has been organising the event for the last 22 years and has raised more than £120,000 for the Royal British Legion.

The idea is simple – as many acts as possible take to the stage between 11.30am and 6.30pm at the Legion’s club on King Street in the town centre.

Over the years the likes of Cannon and Ball, Russ Abbott and the late Frank Carson have performed.

As usual, and despite his bad leg, Mr Coleman will compere the event. Mr Coleman, president of the Blackpool branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “I am really proud of it because to have raised so much money over the years is fantastic.

“It takes some organising. For months beforehand I’m up at three in the morning worrying about it and thinking which acts to book.

“This year’s has been particularly fraught because of my wife and I being in hospital.

“But we’ve got there in the end, everything has come together and this year’s event is going to be particularly special because it will feature the 1,000th act since we started all those years ago.”

Confirmed acts for this year’s event include comedians Johnny Casson, Jimmy Nairn and Ricky Laine, singing duo Classic Sound and The Nolan Brothers. Details of the 1,000th act have yet to be revealed.

Mr Coleman added: “Blackpool is one of the best known Legions in the country because of the Poppython and the fact that people do support this annual appeal and give so generously outside of the poppy sales.”

Doors open at 10am on Saturday and admission is £2.50.

Click here to register with The Gazette website to enable you to leave your comments and reaction to stories.