Tribute to Thanet organist and entertainer Colin Jay

Organist and former co-owner of the Palace Cinema Colin Jay

Thanet organist and entertainer Colin Jay (Hatcher) sadly passed away on Christmas Eve after a long illness.

Colin was resident organist at Margate Winter Gardens for more than 30 years with his popular Tuesday afternoon Tea Dances.

He also played professionally at many functions in the south east both indoors and out, including Broadstairs Bandstand, Cliftonville Bandstand, Herne Bay Bandstand, and had regular bookings at many clubs and functions in the area, playing for strict tempo dancing and entertainment.

Colin was also a music teacher and taught piano, keyboard, and organ to many people in the area. He also often played the church organ at St. Marks Church in Ramsgate for their services.

Colin opened his first business in his early 20s, which was a café in Knightrider Street, in Maidstone. After this he managed various shops, in various towns, mainly selling records, TVs, radios and other audio equipment and this all led to managing a  Rumbelows shop .

Colin playing The Palace Cinema theatre organ

He moved to Ramsgate in the early 70s and opened his first menswear shop in Ramsgate High Street called “Robert John” with his friend David Mepstead. This was such a success, that it led to them opening three more shops in Dover, Folkestone and Sittingbourne.

Eventually these were all sold and Colin concentrated on his other passion, playing the Organ and teaching pupils to play. He also started the Tea Dances at Margate Winter Gardens.

From 2006-2016 he co-owned the Palace Cinema in Broadstairs, with his  friend of 30 years, Sean Mills, and frequently played the Palace Cinema fully illuminated theatre organ for special films and occasions. After the cinema was sold in 2016, Colin retired at 81 years old.

Friends of Colin are invited to his funeral at Margate Crematorium on Friday, January 21 at 10.45am  Please wear colours, not black.

Flowers can be sent to Gore Brothers, alternatively donations can be made to Gore Brothers, for the Pilgrims Hospice.


  1. A charming kind man who was always a true gentleman and very entertaining company – I have wonderful memories of Collin and Sean at the Cinema and was privileged to watch him play there which was fabulous – very sad news – Geoff Harvey

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