Mrs Charles Hughes musical life started as far back as 1895 when as a brilliant teenage accompanist, she met her husband to be, Charles Arthur Hughes, a well known Merseyside tenor. She formed her own dance band during the “Roaring Twenties” and was a resident pianist at the Cliff Hotel, Trearddur Bay. Tackling anything from classics down to jazz, she was an accompanist to many choirs, including that of the late Mr Hugh Williams, before forming her own choirs, both children’s and ladies which brought many honours to the town. One of her most unique accomplishments was when she formed the Holyhead Ladies Harmonic Choir, both conducting and playing to the amazement of the adjudicators. Adjusting herself to the younger generation, she teamed up with her daughter Dilys to produce some of the finest stage productions that north Wales had ever seen, but the competitive spirit still prevailed, and who could forget the Holyhead International Folk dancers who competed in Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastian, Palma de Majorca, and Zaragosa bringing home many victories! One cannot really recall when she produced her first stage production for she produced so many! Mention might be made, however, of the late superintendent John Fair, Anglesey’s Chief Constable, who wished to build a boys institute in the town, and did so with the help of Mrs Charles Hughes, who produced on the stage of the boy’s institute some of her evergreen shows. Charitable organisations benefited from her talents the R.A.f Benevolent Fund, the Princess Victoria Fund, and many many more. Her home completely destroyed by enemy action in October 1940, she walked out of the ruins to rebuild her life. How many thousands of the forces must have danced to her music, and how many romances must have started at the magical touch of her fingers on the piano. Her signature tune “Moonlight and Roses” brings back many a nostalgic memory. One of her greatest joys was to see her talents passed on to her children, Dilys, Emrys and Betty. Betty, who starred in so many of her shows, and Dilys produced them, whilst Emrys supported them with his music.
Who can forget her last stage production “Sinbad the sailor” when, at 84 years of age, “mama” and Emrys played “Stranger on the shore” the last time they played together after a partnership of 40 years. “Mama” as she was known to all her “adopted” children, has left a gap which will be difficult to fill As Holyhead’s first May Queen she will be remembered by young and old alike …….
Passport to Romance 1950’s show in the Town Hall – Battle of Britain Queens” 1950’s Show in the Town Hall
Cae Mwd football ground H/Head crowning Betty Hughes Victory Queen 1945 by Mrs Dargie. Mrs. Dilys Charles Hughes just behind her.
Programme for the Holyhead May Day Festival and Crowning Ceremony and Programme for the “Top Hat” Show and Crowning Ceremony
Minstrel and Variety Entertainments evening at the Holyhead Town Hall in December 1913
Battle of Britain Queen 1953
Do these photos bring back some happy memories or stories you would like to share? Perhaps you have some photos you would like to be added to the Mrs. Charles Hughes section of the old.holyhead.com web site?
Please e-mail me (Ann) and let me know
Kneeling, Left to Right
Monica Hughes, Valerie Owen, Stella Bonnie, Betty Owen, Monica Lewis, Shirley Williams, Hazel Pierce.
Thank You, Jim Bonnie, for these photos.
Standing, Left to Right
Maureen Jones, Jean Porter, Betty Roberts, Sylvia Jones, Dylys Charles Hughes, Maureen Eccleston, Helen Carter Pat Thomas.
Lorna Bonnie 1949, Stella Bonnie 1949, Lorna &Stella Bonnie 1949
Jean Porter & Stella 194
Thank you to Maureen Brereton (nee Williams – formerly of 3 Newry Fawr, Holyhead) for the photos below.
Thank You Pauline Smith for the photo below