On Monday one of the boxes at the Kings Theatre was named after the great 1950s’ singer David Whitfield. Fifty fans gathered for the dedication which included the unveiling of a plaque.
The ceremony was performed by Stan Stirman, the chairman of the David Whitfield Commemorative Association and Annette Manning, of Portsmouth and is just about David’s biggest fan.
When David was appearing at the Southsea theatre in 1957 he was so popular he sometimes performed three times in one day. His most famous songs were Answer Me, which hit number one in 1953. The following year Cara Mia also hit the top of the hit parade.
By 1960 his star was waning. With the advent of rock’n’roll, fickle youths turned their allegiance to up and coming pop singers and groups. But David’s fans never faded away.
David died in Sydney while on tour in 1980. He was 54.
After the unveiling, a tour of the theatre included a visit to the top of the auditorium, the gods. I had not been up there since I was a nipper in the 1950s when it cost 6d to watch a pantomime.
It seemed like I was hundreds of feet up and the steps to the seats are so steep.