Tribute paid to ‘Mr Skegness’

Peter Emmens at an annual presentation event at the Janice Sutton Theatre School. Picture: David Pleming
Peter Emmens at an annual presentation event at the Janice Sutton Theatre School. Picture: David Pleming
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Peter Emmens, of Skegness, died at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital last month following a short illness, aged 87.

Mr Emmens came to the town in the 1960s, taking up a teaching role at the former Lumley Secondary Modern School, where he would go on to be deputy head teacher.

However, Mr Emmens’ role in the community extended far beyond educating its youth.

Having a passion for the arts, he was a long-standing member of the Skegness Operatic Society, singing, acting and producing, involved in the Skegness Playgoers and a strong supporter of the Janice Sutton Theatre School.

Step-daughter Tricia Reid, 59, said: “He knew everybody in Skegness. He had either taught them at the Lumley School or had something to do with them in productions.”

In addition to his stage work, he also wrote a weekly column for the Skegness Standard under the title ‘Offcuts from Longfellow’ from the mid-80s into the 2000s.

His commitment to the local arts scene also helped lead to the creation of a special, multi-use arts space at the Embassy Theatre, in Grand Parade - what is today known as the Arts Room.

He, along with Janice Sutton, principal of the Janice Sutton Theatre School, pushed for such a facility to be incorporated into the plans.

Janice described her long-term friend as ‘so very much Mr Skegness’ and a ‘true English gentleman’. She added: “He is a tough act to follow. I’m just grateful that I had the chance to know Peter.”

The Janice Sutton Theatre School will be dedicating this month’s production of Oliver! at the Embassy Theatre to Mr Emmens, who previously trod the boards locally as Fagin.

His funeral will take place at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, in Burgh le Marsh, on Friday, April 17, at 1pm.

It will be followed by a service at Alford Crematorium and a wake at the Arts Room, at the Embassy Theatre.

All are welcome.