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Why star June just loves Wymondham

PUBLISHED: 09:10 17 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:29 14 July 2010

Star June Whitfield at the Wymondham Regal.

Star June Whitfield at the Wymondham Regal.

SHE may have travelled around the country and throughout the world during a successful TV and film career but June Whitfield said she would like to Carry On coming to Wymondham after an enjoyable brief encounter this weekend.

SHE may have travelled around the country and throughout the world during a successful TV and film career but June Whitfield said she would like to Carry On coming to Wymondham after an enjoyable brief encounter this weekend.

The Carry On actress and star of classic 1970s and 1980s sitcom Terry and June was the latest in a long list of stars to pay a visit to the town's Regal Cinema, now the Ex-Services Club, as part of its smash-hit Sunday afternoon film shows.

It was the 82-year-old's first visit to Wymondham, but hopefully not the last for the London-born actress who loved every minute of the visit.

She said: “I have been absolutely astounded by what Wymondham has to offer. It was my first trip to the town, although I have played at the Theatre Royal in Norwich, and I never knew there was so much here to see.

“I loved going to the old town station which was great, staying at the hotel, and going to the various pubs and restaurants for meals. And that 1930s film projector they use at the Regal cinema was unbelievable.”

Miss Whitfield, who might be better known to younger generations of TV viewers as grandmother June Monsoon in Absolutely Fabulous, spent two nights in the town, staying at the Consort Hotel in Market Street.

During that time she was wined and dined at the Bird in Hand in Wreningham and the Green Dragon in the town.

She also went to the perfectly preserved picturesque town railway station and its Brief Encounter restaurant.

The visit also incorporated a trip to a mini replica cinema of the old Regal, which has just eight seats, at the home of the Regal Experience Group's chairman, Michael Armstrong, before watching her chosen film, Busby Berkeley's 1942 classic For Me and My Gal with Gene Kelly and Judy Garland, at the real thing on Friarscroft Lane.

Historian and group member Philip Yaxley said: “She was a lovely lady and she did everything we asked of her.

“Three members of our group went down to Wimbledon to pick her up on Saturday and then took her home on Monday morning.

“She was absolutely thrilled by the Brief Encounter restaurant and said Wymondham was a delightful town.”

At the Bird in Hand, June was introduced to Trevor Wicks, of Hollywood Cinemas, who books the films for the Regal Experience Group's classic screenings.

During a 30-minute interview on stage by Philip Yaxley, June had the audience in fits when she again became Eth of the Glums, a character she famously played from 1953 to 1960 in the popular comic radio series Take It From Here.

Mr Yaxley presented June with a framed picture of the Astoria Cinema at Streatham taken around the time she had frequented it as a young girl, and Maureen Dodman, group secretary who had made the arrangements, presented the star with a bouquet.

At the Green Dragon, the group chairman Michael Armstrong presented June with a copy of The Wymondham Regal Story book signed by group members and Les King - the joint author with Philip Yaxley. Michael also gave her a donation for her favourite charity.

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