A renowned Preston DJ and radio presenter whose career started at the city’s Top Rank venue has died at the age of 70.
Peter Allen, known to generations of disco and party goers and radio listeners as Pete Simons, died in Royal Preston Hospital.
His son Rick, also a DJ, said his father died peacefully surrounded by family after suffering from vascular dementia and recalled: “He started off DJing at the Top Rank back in the 1960s and he played on Northern Soul nights, at the Five Barred Gate and the Club Royal.”
Peter never planned to be a DJ. He was Chief of Staff at the Top Rank nightlub, but when the DJ failed to show for a Saturday morning event for young people he had to step in and discovered a new and unexpected talent.
In the 1980s Peter set up his own agency, the Pete Simons Entertainment and Promotions Agency on Friargate, and was proud to have brought stars such as Tony Christie and Edwin Starr to the city.
One of his lesser claims to fame was that he was responsible for putting on a record in between acts when The Beatles were the support act at the old Public Hall.
He later worked as a mobile DJ, providing music for celebrations ranging from weddings to birthdays, and was a key mover in local community radio. He broadcast with Preston FM for several years, presenting a show called ‘Simon’s Diamonds’ before setting up his own community station called Radio Preston in 2010.
Rick said: “He did a lot for the community. He was a very good entertainer and in his time he was one of the most recognised DJs, not just in Preston but in Lancashire. He was very passionate about DJing even right until the end.”
Peter also acted as press officer for Preston’s champion non-stop long distance walker Tom Benson when he made his final world record bid and was also known for his charity work and love of motorcycling.
He leaves sons Rick and Edward, daughter Beth, three grandchildren and a sister, Pauline. The funeral is at St Anthony’s, Cadley Causeway, Fulwood this Friday, September 1 at 2.30pm, followed by burial at Hill Road cemetery, Penwortham. Rick said: “Anyone who knew him who wants to come and pay respects is welcome. We want to celebrate his life”