A CELEBRATORY event in Prestatyn to mark a half-century since a film was shot in the town was held this weekend.

“Holiday on the Buses”, the comedy which was the third spin-off film of the “On the Buses” series, starred Reg Varney and Doris Hare, and was filmed at Pontins’ Prestatyn camp in June 1973.

To mark its 50th anniversary, personal appearance agent Richard Coghill organised a weekend of events to remember the film on July 22 and 23.

Surviving cast members, crew, 1973 Pontins staff, holidaymakers who were background extras, and fans gathered together to celebrate the film across the weekend.


NOSTALGIA: 50 years since Prestatyn filming of Holiday on the Buses

NOSTALGIA: The plaque marking Holiday on the Buses' Prestatyn filming

Special guests at this weekend's celebrations include Maureen Sweeney (Mavis), Cynthia Price (extra), Craig Walker, and Larry Achtner (a Pontins staff member during the filming).

On Saturday morning (July 22), a filming locations bus tour took place, before a viewing of the film that afternoon.

This was followed by a Q&A with Craig Walker, an “On the Buses” expert who has written four books on the series.

Rhyl Journal: Richard Coghill and Craig Walker, who helped organise the eventRichard Coghill and Craig Walker, who helped organise the event (Image: Newsquest)

Rhyl Journal: Craig leading a locations tour of the film at PontinsCraig leading a locations tour of the film at Pontins (Image: Newsquest)

On Sunday, Craig, dressed in a blue suit he made himself akin to that worn by Stan and Jack in the film, led a walking tour of filming locations, including on Barkby Beach to see where the bus became stranded in the film.

Fans then enjoyed photo and autograph opportunities with Maureen Sweeney, who was back at Pontins for the first time since 1973.

Rhyl Journal: Maureen Sweeney signing autographs for fansMaureen Sweeney signing autographs for fans (Image: Newsquest)

Rhyl Journal: A plaque at Pontins commemorating the filmingA plaque at Pontins commemorating the filming (Image: Newsquest)

Larry Achtner, who was a member of the kitchen staff at Pontins when the film was shot in 1973, worked at the park for nine years during the 1970s.

He said: “We still all had to do our jobs while the filming was going on, because the camp was still open.

“I remember having a conversations Arthur Mullard (Wally Briggs), Henry McGee (holiday camp manager) and Stephen Lewis (Blakey), and during my break, I managed to watch the ballroom scene being filmed.

Rhyl Journal: Larry Achtner on the beach where the scene of the bus being stranded in the sea was filmedLarry Achtner on the beach where the scene of the bus being stranded in the sea was filmed (Image: Newsquest)

“I watch the film every time it’s on TV, to see if I can see myself. I have happy memories of the time I spent there while it was being filmed – it felt like something to be a part of, and we were all young then!”

Maureen Sweeney, who played Mavis in the film, said: “Pontins was lovely when we came here to film it; it was packed, and there was a lovely feeling among the actors. It was a great, fun time.

“I loved coming to Wales; it’s a really beautiful place, so it’s nice to be back. Everything’s changed (since 1973), but it still brings back memories.”

Fans could also meet and have photos with Cynthia Price, an extra in the film living in Prestatyn, who was also raising money at the event for the Helping Hand for Ukraine appeal.

Rhyl Journal: Cynthia PriceCynthia Price (Image: Newsquest)

She said: “I think it’s important that we do something to help, where help is most needed.

“(In 1973) I was rehearsing with the Rhyl Operatic Society, when someone came and asked us if we wanted to be extras in the film.

“I had to take two weeks’ holiday to be on the film, but it was worthwhile! It was just amazing. My children, aged eight and nine at the time, were in it, too.

“I remember spending some of my birthday, May 20, talking to Wilfred Brambell (Bert) and Stephen Lewis (Blakey) – and Wilfred losing his false teeth!”

Richard is compiling a book about the film, entitled “Memories of Holiday on the Buses”, which he hopes to release soon.

A documentary about the film is also in the works.