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A fond farewell to Bernard Prettyman

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Bernard Prettyman: “I’ll miss the contact with customers and the support from members of staff, but mostly the friends I’ve made over the years”

LAST week, the Torch Theatre said a fond farewell to their longest serving member of staff, Bernard Prettyman.

Bernard worked at the Torch Theatre for nearly 40 years and his retirement was celebrated by a special gathering of long time friends, family and work colleagues. A well-known and a highly loved character, Bernard is often referred by many as the “Face of the Torch,” by many of the returning actors, visiting companies and Pembrokeshire locals.

He started working at the Torch Theatre in 1977 as a barman and moved onto projection in 1980, where he took over the role of House Manager on January 3 1983. Bernard has worked in several departments in the theatre over the years including marketing, projection, front of house, bar and Box Office. In the early days, Bernard was a member of the Milford Haven Operatic Society and the Esso Drama Group. One year he made a guest appearance for the Tabernacle Players but later had to give up acting due to the shift work at the theatre.

His last show was ‘South Pacific’ at the Torch in the late 80s. Marketing Manager Jamie Rees gave a touching speech before presenting Bernard with several parting gifts, including a photographic book signed by staff and friends as well as a framed ‘Brief Encounter’ poster that was specially created by the Pembrokeshire National Coast for last year’s Torch Theatre Company Production of ‘Brief Encounter’. Artistic Director Peter Doran said: “Bernard has been the face of the Torch for over 38 years now. He’s run the bar, been FOH manager, projectionist and worked behind box office and I’m sure given half the chance he’d have been on stage as well. Bernard’s great skill was knowing our customers; he knew the majority by name and nine times out of ten knew their address’s as well – these days it’s called data capture, it used to be called ‘ask Bernard’.”

In true Bernard style, he catered for over 30 work colleagues and friends, many enjoying his delicious cakes that he’s become well known for baking over the years. Bernard said: “I’ll miss the contact with customers and the support from members of staff, but mostly the friends I’ve made over the years.” He hasn’t made any plans for the future but says he’s going to take it easy for a while, enjoy being with his great nephew and niece and his beloved dog, Jasper.