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WHITBY

Mr Whitby

Mr Rex Greenwood

 

 

 

 

 

     

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Please support Rex`s charity "The Cystic Fibrosis Trust" and buy a copy of his book Dracula
All proceeds from the sale of Dracula – The Untold Story are to be donated to The Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

 


INTRODUCTION

BY REX GREENWOOD
Count Rex Dracula Circa 1985

Born in Thurnscoe, Yorkshire on 4th March 1926, and weighing in at around 1¾ lbs, I could not walk or talk until I was five years old. Needless to say, I made up for it afterwards! Old friends of my parents, George and Eddy Easton, who were at the time entertainers on the stage in-between making silent movies, gave me Bram Stokers biography book and so it all began.

Having something in common with Bram Stoker, a very weak infancy, I felt an affinity towards him. Thus, a strange friendship began with a person I had never met. Yet, one to whom I felt uncannily close. In fact, close to both him and his ‘Count Dracula’. It was this ‘relationship’ that changed my life. I suppose, in a way, due to the fact that I could live out my fantasies through the Count.

I distinctly remember a friend taking me to Sunderland in 1933 to see Bela Lugosi. And, although

I was only seven, his performance left a profound impression on the then young boy. Ludlam’s ‘Biography of Bram Stoker’ has been my ‘Bible’ and enabled me to act out my ‘other life.’ The ‘Dracula’ in me has I suppose, brought me a form of fame, while enabling me to help others. My father had a saying... “One crowded hour of glorious fame is worth an age without a name!” I am very fortunate to have had many such hours.

As I grew older, I eventually became an MC in and around the Doncaster area, with Dracula being part of my act. A varied and interesting career, followed by a move to Whitby led to my becoming their Town Crier for nine years. Together with Dracula and Captain Cook, this gave me a tremendous amount of happiness. And, I am glad to say, brought much pleasure and assistance to a lot of local charities. All my funds went to the local branch of the Friends of Cystic Fibrosis.

Trips to Europe and Australia, with my characters, together with TV appearances mean I have experienced a very full and rewarding life. With the finest character, of course, being “Dracula”.

Whitby accepted me as a son of the town, along with my characters and, shall we say, my slightly different views. But, probably primarily due to my work as the Town Crier. I received a lot of help from all kinds of people, including my photographer friend Alan Wastell and the staff from Whitby Pavilion. This support at no time being more apparent than when I underwent surgery for cancer in my thyroid.

The people of Whitby were magnificent. There were so many good wishes and such faith. Yes, faith! I worked very well alongside our vicar, Rev. Ben Hopkinson, never going into the churchyard or the likes of that. Needless to say, the surgery put paid to the Town Crying, leaving me to concentrate on my other characters.

I believe ‘Dracula’ should be a fun thing for all, and something to be used for the good of the people and to help others. I feel this is what Bram Stoker would have liked and wanted. I believe if he were to know how distorted his story has become in the films, through societies etc., he would probably come back as ‘Dracula’ himself and haunt us all!

Still, I suppose no-one really knows. Except perhaps I, Count Rex Dracula. I know, and I am not telling...

Yours
Count Rex Dracula Circa 1985
(Rex Greenwood 1926 - 2004)

 

FOREWORD

           BY ANN BRADY

Rex Greenwood was my uncle, a younger brother of my father and one of five children born in South Yorkshire. He had a brilliant sense of humour, a memory which has stayed with me all my life. I spent many a summer holiday in his and my cousins’ company where we played great games and laughed a lot.

His portrayal of Dracula, Captain Cook, and the Whitby Town Crier gave a lot of pleasure, and benefited many people through his charitable work. Sometimes even scaring a few. But in a nice way.

Uncle Rex often told me stories about his adventures when portraying Dracula. About how he used to hide near the old Whitby Abbey and wait for the school children and other visitors to arrive. He was to show them around and tell them his stories. Upon arrival he would jump out of hiding, causing much laughter.

His visit ‘down under’ at the request of the Australian Government was as part of the celebrations for the Centenary of the country’s Founding Father Captain Cook who himself hailed from Whitby. Rex was also asked by the Australian Health Department to dress as Dracula to promote the use of garlic as a health food and to give blood. Both he and my Aunt had a wonderful time.

There were also many other interviews and one which has always stuck in my mind was by an American journalist researching the history of Dracula. She had been travelling through Transylvania and other countries, before finally arriving in Whitby where Bram Stoker had written his story. Taking her for coffee at a local café the lady began questioning Rex about his belief in Dracula. The conversation went something like this:

Lady: “Of course, you don’t really believe in the character, do you?”

Before he could answer the coffee was brought to the table and as the lady was distracted Rex, having had some special Dracula teeth made, took the opportunity to change his own teeth for these. Then, taking hold of the lady’s hand he slowly turned it palm up as she repeated the question.

Smiling, Rex responded by showing his teeth and saying, “But of course I do my dear!” Whereupon, he moved as if to bite her wrist.

The desired effect was created, and the lady screamed, “You do, you do.”

The lady who owned the café, coming to see what had happened, sighed and promptly scolded Rex for misbehaving. Such was his great sense of humour.

Sadly, my Uncle lost his battle with cancer in 2004 and is sorely missed by all our family and friends alike. I have decided, with my cousins’ agreement, to reissue these two stories, written by my Uncle, in order to continue his wonderful memory and legacy.

Ann Brady Co-author

Remember: Whether you believe in the legend of Dracula or not is down to you. These stories were written by someone with a deep sense of humour. He enjoyed playing a character which, over the years, brought pleasure to many, as well as himself. I hope you enjoy reading his take on the ‘Count’.

 

 

MR REX – THE WHITBY ‘COUNT DRACULA’

Mr. Rex Greenwood, known locally as Mr Whitby, was born near Barnsley, South Yorkshire. When old enough, he started in the mines, working his way up to being a ‘winder-man.’

He, his wife Gwen and two daughters moved to Whitby around 1970 where he quickly became a part of the community, taking on the role of Town Crier. He was also often seen delighting children and visitors by dressing up as Captain Cook or Count Dracula.

The couple ran the West Cliff Hotel and he also worked for Cleveland Potash. Apart from his portrayal of Whitby’s favourite sons Mr Greenwood enjoyed cycling and ballroom dancing, often being MC at dinner dances. But it wasn’t until he moved to Whitby that he started to do a lot more charity work.

Mr Rex was the first person to give guided tours dressed as Dracula. His interest in the character earned him a place on the BBC1 television series ‘Noel Edmond’s Telly Addicts,’ which can still be viewed today on YouTube as seen here....  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmf8o5MnVhU

He was even invited to Australia with his Captain Cook uniform as part of a special British week where he was adopted as ‘Captain Cook of Australia’s Endeavour’ replica ship. While in Australia he was also asked to attend a large exhibition in his Dracula character to help promote the Australian Blood Bank and the eating of Garlic for health purposes.

Over the years he has used his acting skills to raise thousands of pounds for Cystic Fibrosis, cancer charities, the James Cook University Hospital and Scarborough Hospital where he was treated for thyroid cancer. He was also one of the first people to be nominated an honorary citizen of Whitby due to his charitable work.

Mrs Greenwood once recalled how he did a lot for charity but loved doing it. “He was Town Crier for eight and a half years until his illness forced him to retire in 1989. He put himself out a lot when he was Town Crier,” she said. “He would go out at any time. If there was something to tell people he would be there.” He also represented Whitby in various town crying championships both in the UK and Europe.

While many people knew him as Mr Rex, Mr Whitby, the Town Crier, Count Dracula or Captain Cook, to his family he was a husband and a father. Married to Mrs Greenwood for 56 years they had two daughters. One of Mrs Greenwood’s treasured memories of him included a trip to Venice just before their golden wedding anniversary which she later described as absolute magic.

Mr Greenwood’s daughter Lynda remembers the dad who sang them his songs and told his stories at bedtime. And how he would take them sledging and make swings and slides for them. His other daughter Mandy recalls how Dad had always been there for them, even when they were young.

Rex Greenwood was a man of compassion, humour and consideration for others. Yet underneath there was still that young boy who was fascinated by the character of a Vampire. The figment of Bram Stoker’s imagination who to this day still attracts all ages. If Mr Rex truly believed in ghosts, as he claims, then maybe we will see him walking the old town one evening?

(Rex Greenwood 1926-2004)

 

 


The Cystic Fibrosis Trust Donations

All proceeds from the sale of Dracula – The Untold Story are to be donated to The Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
 

This was one of many charities very close to Rex’s heart and one he supported for many years.

If you have purchased a copy of the book, then on behalf of the family, we thank you for keeping Rex’s memory alive and for continuing his charitable works.

Ann Brady, Author Member:
SCBWI, SOA & AFW
www.ann-brady.co.uk
www.penandinkdesigns.co.uk
Mob No: 0771 425 3479
Skype:
   0161 408 0136

 

Please support Rex`s charity "The Cystic Fibrosis Trust" and buy a copy of his book above

 

A signed copy of the Book can be
  purchased from:

  www.ann-brady.co.uk
  www.penandinkdesigns.co.uk
 
 
Mob No: 0771 425 3479
  Skype: 0161 408 0136


 

 

  A signed copy of the Book can be
  purchased from:

  www.ann-brady.co.uk
  www.penandinkdesigns.co.uk
 
 
Mob No: 0771 425 3479
  Skype: 0161 408 0136

 

 

Please support Rex`s charity "The Cystic Fibrosis Trust" and buy a copy of his book above - Thank You

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

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  Website:    https://www.whitbyhotels.co.uk


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