Boss of Hartlepool’s iconic nightclub - The Gemini - dies at 85

Ron Trotter with his book - Just a lad from West Hartlepool.
Ron Trotter with his book - Just a lad from West Hartlepool.

A well-known Hartlepool businessman has died following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Ron Trotter, the former owner of The Gemini nightclub in the town, passed away last week at the age of 85.

Ron Trotter, when he was the owner of Gemini nighclub, with some of the members of Pans People.

Ron Trotter, when he was the owner of Gemini nighclub, with some of the members of Pans People.

Hartlepool born and bred, Ron had lived a full life and was known for his businesses in the town and also his council and charity work.

His daughter, Sophia Cuthbert, 50, said: “He was born in Hartlepool and Hartlepool was his life.

“He was very well known in the town. He was an outgoing and generous man.”

Sophia says her dad, whose wife Phyllis died two years ago, was very proud of the Gemini and she even worked there herself for a while.

He was an outgoing and generous man

Sophia Cuthbert

She said Ron had battled Alzheimer’s for some years, but never forgot the Villiers Street club.

Sophia said: “He couldn’t drive in the last few years, so I would drive him into town.

“Whenever, we passed the building he would say ‘Gemini’.”

At the age of 77, Ron decided to write a book about his life - Just a lad from West Hartlepool - and donated all the proceeds to Alzheimer’s Research UK.

In its heyday the nightclub attracted some of the biggest names in showbusiness including Pan’s People, Leo Sayer and the Real Thing.

The Gemini was such a huge success that its turnover reached more than 700,000. But as more wine bars opened across Hartlepool, Ron decided to move on in late October 1989.

During his life, Ron also ran butcher’s shops throughout the town and held the posts of president and secretary of the Hartlepool Meat Traders’ Association.

He was also a president of Hartlepool Rotary Club, a keen golfer and captain of Seaton Carew Golf Club and a member on West Hartlepool Town Council and Cleveland County Council.

When interviewed for his book, Ron said: “I do feel as though I have been lucky in my life and sometimes I do laugh about it.”

Ron’s achievements also include competing in the British gymnastic championships as a representative of West Hartlepool in 1949.

He also became the best all round recruit when he joined the number 24 flight of number 3 wing in the Royal Air Force.

A funeral service for Ron, who was also dad to Ann and the late Tina, will take place at The Parish Church of St Peter in Elwick on Thursday, November 2, at noon, prior to committal at Stranton Grange Crematorium.

His family says anyone who would like to pay their respects is welcome to join them.