MBE for Gerald Parkes owner of Louth Playhouse cinema

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Gerald Parkes, owner of the Playhouse Cinema in Louth, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours.

He has been recognised for services to the UK cinema industry.

Mr Parkes started in the industry in 1960 as a rewind boy at Wakefield’s ABC Regal. Later he became a projectionist and then moved into management, becoming Assistant Manager at Dewsbury and the youngest manager in the ABC Cinemas company.

In 1983 he established Parkway Entertainment at the Regal, Worksop, and went on to build a multiplex cinema in Cleethorpes.

He took over the Playhouse Cinema in 1996 and saved it for the future.

Mr Parkes said: “It was a bingo hall on the ground floor with still one screen remaining. We closed down the bingo and opened two extra screens.

“I started in the industry in 1960 when the beautiful art deco cinemas of the 1930s were still intact. The surviving of the Playhouse in Louth is such a unique thing.

“We’ve invested in the Louth cinema over the years and put digital projection equipment in. It has a beautiful art deco frontage from 1935.”

He is the longstanding representative for the North of England branch of the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association.

Of his MBE he said: “I’m flattered, I’ve got some marvellous people around me.”

The popular Playhouse is also home to Louth Film Club.