Tributes paid to former cinema projectionist Maurice Thornton

Tributes have been paid to Maurice Thornton, who has died aged 90. Picture: Lynn Reed and

Tributes have been paid to Maurice Thornton, who has died aged 90. Picture: Lynn Reed and Jim Johnston - Credit: Lynn Reed

Tributes have been paid to a ‘kind, generous and proud’ man, Maurice Thornton.

Maurice, aged 90, served in the Royal Navy, became a youth leader in the district and volunteered at the Curzon cinema in Clevedon for 12 years.

He moved to Nailsea in 1972 from Manchester and spent his final years with his daughter Lynn in Weston.

Maurice died on April 18, 2020.

Lynn Reed said: “Dad was kind, generous, fair, reasonable, a great organiser, proud, strong-minded and determined.

“He had many interests – railways, photography, steam engines and fairground organs, all kinds of music and maps.

“However, his life-long passion was for the cinema and he loved all animals, especially dogs.”

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Maurice was born on May 17 at his grandparents’ house in Kettering in Northamptonshire in 1929.

In 1953, Maurice left the Royal Navy after seven years of service and trained as a professional film projectionist by Granada, working with stars of the silver screen including Cliff Richard, Cilla Black, Adam Faith, Tommy Steele and many more.

He married his wife Joyce on June 10, 1961 in Rothwell in Northamptonshire, and they had three children together, Lynn, Carol and Simon.

Maurice took a youth work course at Liverpool University and gained his qualification in 1968.

He then moved to Nailsea in 1972 and took on the role of youth leader in Pill and Long Ashton and later in Portishead.

Maurice moved on to work part-time at the train enquiry bureau at Temple Meads railway station in Bristol in the 1990s.

He then became a volunteer at the Curzon cinema in Clevedon as a projectionist in 1995 and wrote two books about his 12 years there.

In his spare time, Maurice converted his garden shed into a cinema and showed films to his neighbours and their children.

Lynn added: “In 2012, he wrote down everything he could remember about his life and said he had been very lucky to do the things he had wanted to do.

“He said he had travelled the world, pursued his love of cinema and many other interests, written books and even been a local radio presenter for a short time.

“He said he had no regrets and if he could live his life again, he would.”