A FUNDRAISING event held in honour of a much-loved larger-than-life character who ran nine pubs and clubs across the North-East made more than £4,000 for cancer care charities.

Hull-born “Big Les” Allen, of Etherley Lane, Bishop Auckland, took his first job at the legendary Club Fiesta in Norton, Stockton, in February 1975.

He left after a year to set up Middlesbrough’s famous Rock Garden in a disused bierkeller off Newport Road.

There he booked dozens of acts that went on to be world famous – including the Sex Pistols, The Damned, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Police and The Stranglers.  

After rubbing shoulders with stars of the future for a year Les set out on a career that would see him run the Gatsby nightclub in Seaton Carew, the Miner’s Arms in Bishop Auckland and six pubs in Middlesbrough – The Old Vic, The Masham, the Central, the Normanby, The Smoggy Scholar (now the Square One), and the Ship Inn at Eston. He also took on the Peacock in Peterborough.

His last job, before retiring in September 2016, was as steward at Marske Cricket Club. 

Non-smoker Les died from lung cancer on July 18.

The Northern Echo:

Les Allen’s wife, Mary, Macmillan Cancer Support lung specialist nurse Karen Capenhurst and Les's sister, Elaine, outside Darlington Memorial Hospital where Les was cared for

Les’s family, and friends from Marske Cricket Club launched a Macmillan Tribute Funds page and a raffle in aid of cancer care charities, which had supported him in the last few weeks of his life.

They raised £3,595 for Macmillan and £500 for Marie Curie.

Les’s wife Mary and his sister Elaine visited Darlington Memorial Hospital to thank staff, in particular Macmillan Cancer Support lung specialist Karen Capenhurst, for the “fantastic” help they gave Les during his final days.

Mary said: “Karen was a treasure throughout Les’s illness, she helped us a great deal.”

Raffle winners were Graham Teece, of Middlesbrough (32in Toshiba Smart HD TV), Jude Jones, of Hull (Huawei Media Pad), and Buster Martin, of Eston (£100-worth of Amazon vouchers).