TRIBUTES have been paid to Madge Denton-Cox, a well-known Mablethorpe resident and former owner of the Lyric Cinema, who died on October 6 aged 90.
Madge was born in West Yorkshire but her family moved to Mablethorpe in the 1930s. Her father Arthur built a large store (later the Victoria Road library), became council Chairman, and converted the Empire Garage into St George’s Variety Theatre.
Madge drove an ambulance in wartime, and after meeting Jack Denton-Cox, a Royal Navy telegraphist, she applied to join the WRENS (Women’s Royal Naval Service) – but to her disgust she was called up to the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service). But being stationed in Middlesex provided frequent chances to visit her beloved London.
Arthur converted his theatre into the Lyric Cinema, but later died aged 56 and, as his wife Rose suffered from ill health, Madge took over. Aged just 20 she had to learn the business - but spoke warmly of the stalwarts who helped her; Billy Jackson, ‘Johnny’ Johnson, and Barclays manager Leslie Shipman.
Madge ruled the cinema with an iron fist; many were thrown out for misbehaviour, often having to serve a six-week ban, followed by a grovelling apology.
She married Jack in 1943 and later they had one son, Dallas.
Madge will be fondly remembered in Mablethorpe for her selfless work during the floods of 1953. She offered her cinema as a base to the troops who were helping with the clean-up and the mass evacuation.
She sold the cinema in 1973, and when Jack retired in 1979 they resumed boating holidays.
Jack died in 2005 after 62 years of marriage and Madge missed him very deeply.
Madge loved tennis and was a good player; she was a fixture as a fan at Wimbledon and was often greeted even by umpires.
Madge has been described as vivacious, glamorous and exciting. She loved parties and dancing with friends and could high-kick into her 80s.
She had immense charm and charisma – she could walk into a room knowing no-one and become the centre of attention.
A funeral will be held at St Peter’s Church, Trusthorpe, at 2pm on Tuesday, November 1.
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