Peter lived in Harpenden with his parents when he was a boy. His father was a jockey and his mother was in the Salvation Army. Not surprisingly Peter wanted to be a jockey when he grew up and there were always ponies in his childhood. At 15 he became an apprenticed jockey with Peter Thrale and moved to Epsom Downs. He got the nickname ‘Pencil’ because of his slight build; after training for only 9 months he rode in his first race.
When Peter was 19 years old, Peter Thrale died and Pete lost his position. Not one to look back, he moved to a totally different career in hairdressing, and over the years won many accolades in local, regional, national and even international competitions. He remained a hairdresser for the rest of his working life and had shops in Baldock and Letchworth.
But Peter’s real love was, and still is, entertaining. He discovered this when as a Scout he took part in the Harpenden Gang Shows, where he discovered he was a good comedian. He was ‘talent spotted’ by Ralph Reader and was soon in the famous Gang Shows. At 15 he left all this behind to fulfil his dream of being a jockey.
In 1975 he was asked to be MC at a dinner to mark the 75th Anniversary of the founding of Letchworth Garden City, and this really brought out the comedian in him. Then came the Letchworth Arcadians, which he and his wife both joined (Jan still performs with them). Peter was soon singing in musicals such as Brigadoon, Annie Get Your Gun, Oliver, My Fair Lady and many others. He eventually left to find a change from musicals and joined the Bancroft Players at Hitchin, where he was acting as well as singing in shows such as Chicago, sometimes taking the male lead.
During this time he and 3 friends were developing a spontaneous act which gradually became the Singing Waiters. It was a close harmony comedy singing group and they had FUN. A lot of what the did on stage was totally unrehearsed, with the group members just playing off each other and inventing on the spur of the moment. Audiences loved them and the group went on performing together for many years.
About 1993 he and Jan moved to Chalton. For a time they bred German Shepherd dogs for show, but now they have just one greyhound/whippet cross. Like many people, they find keeping up with the garden a full-time job, but both take an active part in village events, sometimes performing at village functions and pantomime. He is now a member of the village choir Sing Up Loud.
Peter has performed in Annie Get Your Gun, Brigadoon, Oliver, My Fair Lady, Half a Sixpence, Chicago, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Sugar, Hello Dolly and numerous other productions.