Hooray for Cab-Hoo-Ray! Barkingside man celebrating 37 years entertaining for free (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Hooray for Cab-Hoo-Ray! Barkingside man celebrating 37 years entertaining for free
After 37 years running a cabaret troupe which entertains for free, a Barkingside pensioner says he feels as young as ever.
John Dudman of Fullwell Avenue won’t reveal his age, but it’s safe to say he is somewhere in his eighties.
He has spent the last 36 years touring care homes and sheltered accommodation units in East London and Essex with a troupe of entertainers called Cab-Hoo-Ray.
He said: “I’m a very sociable man, I love light entertainment and I like to keep busy.
“That’s why I set Cab-Hoo-Ray up and it’s what keeps me going.”
The troupe has seen dozens of dancers, musicians and magicians come and go over the years and has helped raise money for causes including the British Heart Foundation and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Mr Dudman says: “We’ll perform anywhere that wants us and we never charge. It’s all free. Perhaps they can give us a bit of petrol money and a donation to a charity but that’s it.
“We do a lot of shows for the elderly, but we go to churches, anywhere really.”
Cab-Hoo-Ray currently has 12 members, but it is Mr Dudman who is the driving force behind the group which performs around 20 shows a year.
Julie Morgan, 50, has been singing with the troupe for 13 years.
She said: “I came to singing late in life so I don’t have any dreams of being a pop star or West End performer.
“Someone pointed me in John’s direction and I’ve been involved ever since.
“He’s a wonderful man, amazing. We the performers get all the applause but it’s him who does all the legwork and keeps it going.
“I love him like a dad really – I think we all do.”
Mr Dudman comperes the two-hour shows and still tells jokes.
He said: “My brand of humour is very clean and I don’t get the laughs I used to.
“But I still think the material is good. We get a lot of letters from people who have enjoyed the shows. It certainly keeps me feeling young.”
The troupe currently needs new dancers. Anyone who thinks they can help out should call Mr Dudman on 020 8551 6853. See a video of John on our website in Pictures and Videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL4aMmUkDyo
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