Peterborough's 'Mr Odeon' reunited with former staff at gala performance

'Mr Odeon' Mike Turner reunited with his old team of staff
'Mr Odeon' Mike Turner reunited with his old team of staff
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A sell-out audience for the BBC concert orchestra's Film music gala performance with the Peterborough Sings choirs got the newly re-opened Broadway theatre off to a flying start.

Celebrating 80 years since the building first opened as the Odeon cinema, memories of the magic of the movies came flooding back for many local people last Saturday, September 2, including a dozen former staff from it's days as the Odeon cinema.

Rik Wass presenting Mike Turner with his award

Rik Wass presenting Mike Turner with his award

Helen Cave, from Fletton, a former Odeon cashier organised the reunion alongside local film fan Marc Hernandez, who works from Thomas Cook and was a regular at the cinema during his childhood in the 1980's.

Helen and her colleagues were reunited with their old manager, Mike Turner for the first time in over 25 years who came back specially for the event.

Mike said "I was here from 1976-1989 and went on to have the best years of my career here. It was really something to come back and see so many of my staff after all this time. It brought back a lot of happy memories for everyone and the film music gala concert was the icing on the cake. I'm also pleased the buildings future as a theatre has been secured. It's a great way to celebrate it's 80th anniversary and I wish the new management every success".

Marc added: "One of the stories Mike told me last year was about the 'Thunderball Trophy' he won in 1977. It was awarded to top performing cinema managers and when he left to run the Odeon, Ipswich he had the trophy proudly mounted on the wall there ...until it was stolen. So 40 years on I thought it was about time he was given a replica."

'Mr Odeon' Mike Turner reunited with his old team of staff

'Mr Odeon' Mike Turner reunited with his old team of staff

Former Peterborough Evening Telegraph journalist Rik Wass, who wrote the newspapers cinema guide in 1977 and knew Mike well, re- presented the award.

Mike added: "I had a great team of staff working for me and the main reason I won the award in the first place was for all the promotional work we did for that year's Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.

"We had a big competition that ran in the ET to win a trip to Pinewood studios and Rik also came up with the idea for a charity car tour. He and colleagues traveled up and down the country visiting Odeon cinemas with a promotional display for the film on the cars roof rack!

"I got Bernard Lee (M in the film) to start them off from the East of England Showground during that years Expo event. It raised thousands of pounds for Guide dogs for the blind and got a lot of publicity in each town and city they visited".

'Mr Odeon' Mike Turner

'Mr Odeon' Mike Turner

Among the songs performed during the film music gala were the themes to Superman, Star Wars and James Bond, all films which played at the Odeon during Turner's time.