They are a British institution from whose ranks have emerged some of the country’s top entertainers, so all eyes were on the red blazers when the latest Butlins Redcoats stepped into the spotlight.
The 50 new recruits who received their coveted uniforms at Butlins Minehead yesterday included a former nurse, a talented West Country comedian, a former Tesco baker and a Miss England semi-finalist.
They have beaten hundreds of hopefuls to become the new faces at Butlins’ holiday centres at Minehead, Skegness and Bognor Regis and some may hope to follow in the footsteps of Des O’Connor or Sir Jimmy Tarbuck.
For Kelly Smith, 20, from, Kent, becoming a Redcoat is a major career change. “I did performing arts at school but then went into nursing people with autism and Down’s syndrome, but I have always, always wanted to do something like this and I am thrilled to be here today.”
Kelly, who has already learned circus skills such as juggling and card tricks, will be working at Butlins at Bognor Regis.
Adam Barker, 25, is a former Plymouth student who did a degree in theatre and performing arts. “I went on to do stand-up, touring in Devon and Cornwall, and I got to the 2010 finals of New Devon Art. It’s great to be here,” he said. He will be based at Minehead.
Kyle Stanley, 23, from Runcorn worked in Tesco’s bakery before putting his skills as a musician to the test. He had toured Britain with bands The Loves and NWT before applying to become Redcoat. “I play drums, guitar, piano, I sing – and I can bake” he joked. He will be based at Minehead where he is already playing papa in Beauty and the Beast.
Yasmine Tomlin, 19, from Bedfordshire is a Miss England semi-finalist who has taught water-skiing to youngsters in New York. “When I was at school my dream was to perform in the West End, becoming a Redcoat allows me to perform and do what I have always wanted to do, work with children,” she said.
February half-term sees the start of Butlins holiday season. The recruits will host more than 1.5 million guests this year, be trained in skills from magic to circus skills and learn life skills that will help them in other walks of life.
2013 BUTLINS REDCOATS - IN PICTURES