VETERAN entertainer Vic Banks has died aged 77 following a short illness.

Vic, who was born in Dorchester but spent most of his life living in Weymouth, was well known to thousands of people across the county through his variety performances at Weymouth Pavilion , Punch and Judy shows at village fetes and entertaining interludes at children’s parties.

He also worked at Pontins and Haven holiday camps around Weymouth for many years and was presented with a Swarovski crystal swan by grateful staff and pupils of Radipole School in Weymouth, where he staged a fortune-teller act at their school fete for 40 years.

Gordon Victor Banks – known to all as Vic – was born in Dorchester to Victor and Edna Banks.

The family moved to Weymouth when he was a boy and Vic went to school at Cromwell Road and then Weymouth Grammar School.

Vic started his career as a performer by staging shows in his parents’ garage for friends. His father, a carpenter, made him a ventriloquist doll and Vic would charge admission to his shows.

He did his National Service with the RAF medical corps and then started work at the old Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester as a medical records officer. Here he met Rosemary Beaglehole, a medical secretary, and they went on to marry and have four children – Jeremy, Andrew, Ashley and Christiane.

Vic left the hospital when he was 55 and spent the rest of his life entertaining at village fetes and children’s parties.

He also raised a considerable amount of money for Trimar hospice when it was first established by staging shows at the former Weymouth Arts Centre and supported Wey Valley School and Weymouth Operatic Workshop by lending and making props for performances.

Vic’s daughter Christiane said: “Dad was working right up until he became ill – his last performance was with Punch and Judy at the Tarrant Gunville fete in June.

“He was a lovely man and was even joking when he was really ill in hospital. I think he felt it was a pretty poor show that his illness was stopping him from getting out and doing shows.”

The funeral for Vic Banks takes place in St Aldhelm’s Church, Spa Road, Weymouth today at noon. A collection after the service will be divided between WOW Youth Theatre and St John’s School, Weymouth.