MICHAEL BENTINE - COMEDIAN AND COTGROVE DESCENDANT
In 1879 Jane, known as Minnie, Cotgrove, descendant of the extensive Cotgrove clan of Leigh, married James Cornelius Dawkins, a plumber with Southend Water Board. The family lived at various addresses in Southend and Prittlewell and grew to six children before, sadly, Jane passed away in 1898.
James, who was originally from Whittlesea in Cambridgeshire, then married another Lady of Leigh, Elizabeth Quilter, but he died in 1904 leaving Elizabeth with his younger children from his first marriage.
This included Florence, born in 1892. By 1911 Florence was a housemaid in Hendon and 4 years later she married an aeronautical engineer working for Sopwith aircraft, Michael Adam Bentin in Marylebone. Her husband was Peruvian by birth, the son of Don Antonio Bentin Palamerra, vice-president of Peru.
In 1922 Florence gave birth to a second son, Michael James, who was to become one of our best loved comedians and actors, Michael Bentine.
Michael attended Eton and served in the RAF during the war.
He had a very varied career but to us he will always be remembered for programmes such as the Goon Show, with other sadly missed commedians, Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe, although he only appeared in a few of the shows. There was also Potty Time (refresh your memory at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRL6my1z0sw ) and Its a Square World, for which he won a BAFTA. He also starred in films such as The Sandwich Man.
In 1995 he was honoured with a CBE for services to entertainment.
Carrying on his family connections to aeronautics he took part in the first hovercraft expedition up the River Amazon.
In 1995 he received a CBE from the Queen "for services to entertainment" and he was also awarded the Peruvian Order of Merit, for his fundraising efforts during the Peruvian Earthquake Appeal.
His interests included parapsychology and he was a very fine shot.
Michael died in 1996 - a grandson of Leigh.