PAT Church, manager of Abbeygate Picturehouse is celebrating 50 years of working in cinema.
Pat began his career as an assistant projectionist at the New England Cinema, Peterborough, when he was just 12 years old.
He worked full time at the cinema after leaving school at 15 before moving to Bury St Edmunds to work at the cinema in Hatter Street in 1966.
“I still enjoy it as much as I did then, it has become a way of life, said Pat, who became manager of what is now Abbeygate Picturehouse in 1975 after convincing ABC not to close the cinema down by bombarding them with letters.
He said: “It’s always going to be a struggle to keep the place going – we have had to fight like hell. But after our latest deal with Picturehouse I feel like dreams I have had for 10 years are coming true.”
Pat’s love of cinema has not deteriorated over the 50 years.
He said: “The magic has not gone. I see people coming out of films and I can see it has been magic for them having lost themselves for two hours.
“Everything in my life has always been linked to films – The Sound of Music was showing when I was engaged, then when I was married it was Bonnie and Clyde and when my son was born it was Soldier Blue.”
Pat won Canon Cinema’s manager of the year in 1986.