PICTURE SPECIAL: Hats off to entertainent legend Tommy

IT was hats off to Tommy the Trumpeter yesterday as the legendary South Tyneside entertainer prepares to take his final bow.

South Tyneside Mayor, Coun Ernest Gibson, found out that the cheeky children’s favourite was up to his usual tricks at the amphitheatre in Sea Road, South Shields – getting drenched when he turned up to mark the occasion.

DUNKED ... the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Ernest Gibson, gets a soaking at the penultimate Tommy's Party.

DUNKED ... the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Ernest Gibson, gets a soaking at the penultimate Tommy's Party.

Yesterday was Tommy’s penultimate performance and he was in top form during a ‘crazy hat’–themed afternoon – with youngsters encouraged to don the wackiest headgear.

The fun, frolics and laughter will come to an end after his final show tomorrow from 1.30pm.

But Tommy is walking off into the sunset with praise ringing in his ears – and with the gratitude of generations of children and their parents.

Coun Gibson passed his thanks for Tommy’s quarter of a century of service – and received a drenching in the process. Not holding any grudges, Coun Gibson labelled the kiddies’ favourite a “jewel in the crown”.

He said: “Tommy has become part of our heritage and is irreplaceable.

“I was actually dunked with water twice – after the Gazette photographer ‘pretended’ he’d missed the first dunking. I didn’t mind, it’s all part of the fun.”

Also on hand was an energetic ‘flashmob’ dance troupe made up of staff from Trocaderos bar in South Shields,

Stephen Sullivan, 27, said: “I used to come to Tommy’s Parties when I was a kid. Ray had seen one of our performances in King Street on Youtube and he invited us to perform.”

Vicky Abrahamson, 25, from South Shields, loved Tommy when she was a child.

Yesterday she was back at the amphitheatre with her daughter, Lexi Lowe, three, stepdaughter, Jessica Ainsley, six, mum Diane Abrahamson, sister-in-law Meggie Lowe, 29, and nephew Jackson, two.

Ms Abrahamson said: “I’m gutted that Tommy’s Parties are coming to an end.

“Lexi’s only three and I was hoping she would grow up watching Tommy like I did. We’ll really miss him.”