Reading of the sad death of William Gee (CP 2-12-22) at the young age of 72, reminds me of 56 years ago when I started work in my first ever job in reception at the Royal Hotel, Ventnor, when it was a Trust House hotel. 

Billy Gee (as we knew him) was a hall porter under Ken Davies (head porter) and I will always remember Billy’s lovely smile.

The manager was Colin Grimsell, with chef Brackley in the kitchen, Jean Lacey in housekeeping, Harry Dore was head gardener, Bill and Mary Wheeler ran the Royal Buffet Bar and Rocco was head waiter.

Most of the staff were Spanish in the restaurant and housekeeping and a lovely lot they were too.

I have happy memories of Christmas when a Mr England or Mr English stayed to run the Christmas programme every year.

I remember going horse riding at Rocklands Stables and bell-ringing at Godshill Church, going there on the back of a friend’s motorbike (no helmets needed then).

I also recall going putting at Flowersbrook.

My GP was Dr Champion and Roy Wearing ran the local paper, the Ventnor Mercury.

I also learned to drive in a Vauxhall Viva with Paul Brown School of Motoring. 

Happy days of growing up in Ventnor. RIP Billy.