The man with ‘fairgrounds in his blood’: Tributes to showman Colin Noble, who staged funfairs at Seaburn and Sunderland Airshow

Colin Noble, centre, alongside son Colin (left) and grandson Darren, right.
Colin Noble, centre, alongside son Colin (left) and grandson Darren, right.
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A prominent showman who said fairgrounds were “in his blood” has died at the age of 86.

Colin Noble, of Noble’s Funfairs, passed away on Sunday afternoon.

The Northeast's Biggest Funfair which opened at Herrington Country Park in summer 2014.

The Northeast's Biggest Funfair which opened at Herrington Country Park in summer 2014.

The Sunderland fan spent most of his life going from town to town across the North East with his family’s travelling fair.

They ran shows in places such as Ocean Beach Park on Seaburn seafront as well as the city’s International Airshow.

Colin, who lived in Washington before he passed away, was a former chairman of the Northern section and ex-president of the national organisation The Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain.

Colin, who was born in Newcastle in 1932, and had always played his part in the family business.

Colin Noble and wife Lesley at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

Colin Noble and wife Lesley at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

His loved ones say he was born into it and said almost as soon as he could walk he would go to work with his father.

He said he loved the noise, the screams of delight as well as the smell of toffee apples and candy floss.

To say that he was dedicated to the amusements industry would be an understatement,

He spent a lifetime of providing entertainment for families of all ages.

Seaburn Fun Fair  Good Friday Easter April 1981

Seaburn Fun Fair Good Friday Easter April 1981

Colin arranged funfairs, large and small, from a modest weekend event in small pit village, to some of the largest fairs in the country.

He also played a major part in the organisation of The Hoppings on Newcastle’s Town Moor every year for most of his life, and was involved in entertainment at Sunderland International Airshow and a fair which is held in North Moor Lane, Farringdon.

The Noble family also helped with putting on amusements at the historic Houghton Feast festival.

Colin and wife Lesley were twice invited to a garden parties at Buckingham Palace, once in his capacity as presidents of The Showmen’s Guild and on another occasion for his charity work.

Colin Noble alongside sons Colin and Darren.

Colin Noble alongside sons Colin and Darren.

His grandson Darren said: “We’ve had a lot of messages of support since he passed away.”

Colin was also a dedicated Sunderland AFC supporter, only attending his final game at the end of 2018.

“(Former SAFC player) Micky Horswill invited him in a box for the game against Barnsley at the Stadium of Light just a few months ago,” added Darren.

“He was a big Sunderland fan and went as much as he could.”

In an interview with the Echo almost 10 years ago when the family reopened Ocean Beach Park on Seaburn’s seafront, Colin said: “I can’t stay away from a fairground, it is in my blood.

“My family has worked in and around fairs ever since the 1800s.

Seaburn Fun Fair in 1955.

Seaburn Fun Fair in 1955.

“It’s the life I was born into.”

Colin leaves wife Lesley, sons Darren and Colin as well as grandson Darren.

His funeral will take place on Monday, April 15, at 3pm at Sunderland Crematorium.

Colin Noble, in blue shirt, alongside Noble's Funfairs trucks and members of his family.

Colin Noble, in blue shirt, alongside Noble's Funfairs trucks and members of his family.

Sunderland fan Colin Noble with son Darren and the FA Cup.

Sunderland fan Colin Noble with son Darren and the FA Cup.

The Northeast's Biggest Funfair which opened at Herrington Country Park in summer 2014.

The Northeast's Biggest Funfair which opened at Herrington Country Park in summer 2014.