When a fire broke out at Gayle Hall’s Mereside home, she ended up losing all her precious photos and mementos of her beloved dad.
Gayle’s father was none other than Jimmy Buchanan, one of the key figures of the world famous Blackpool Tower Circus from the 1950s up until 1990.
For more than three decades, Jimmy played the deadpan stooge of that other Tower legend, Charlie Cairoli Sr, helping to set up some of the great slapstick routines that were a vital component of the circus.
Gayle, 63, of Troutbeck Crescent, was heartbroken after the fire in her airing cupboard destroyed all the items connected to her dad, who died in the early 1990s.
But Gayle, a mother-of-two and grandmother, has been presented with a special gift – a lovely framed black and white photo depicting Jimmy and Charlie performing at the Tower.
It came about as a direct result of an article in The Gazette, which reported that Nigel Male was writing a book about Charlie Cairoli and wanted to hear readers’ stories.
He said: “I couldn’t believe it when Gayle sent me an email, told me she was Jimmy’s daughter and how she’d lost all her pictures in a fire. I just wanted to help.
“Jimmy never cracked a smile in the ring, but when Charlie whispered to Jimmy that his wife had just given birth to Gayle, he grinned from ear to ear during a show.”
Gayle, who used to perform in the Blackpool Children's Pantomime in the 1960s, said: “It’s a lovely photo, I’m so grateful for this.
"I have so many happy memories of my dad, I practically lived at the Tower Circus.
"I used to do Charlie Cairoli's shopping.
"But when we had the fire I lost so much."
Nigel, whose book ‘Charlie Cairoli – 39 years under The Tower’ – will be published this year, obtained the photo thanks to the Blackpool Museum Project.
Jill Carruthers, of Blackpool Museum Project, said: "It was fantastic to help with this, Gayle was so thrilled.
"Bringing joy to people is what we're all about."