Preston’s Mr Guild Hall Allan Baker dies aged 73

The man who helped a thousand stars sparkle at Preston's Guild Hall has died.

By Brian Ellis
Friday, 1st July 2022, 3:45 pm

Allan Baker, who spent more than 30 years at the venue looking after some of the biggest names in entertainment, had been battling cancer for the past eight years. He was 73.

Allan worked his way up from doorman to general manager and, after the retirement of the illustrious Vin Sumner, became “Mr Guild Hall” throughout showbiz and indoor sport.

He worked with a veritable Who's Who of the music world, stars like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John - who became a close personal friend - and bands including Queen, Status Quo and The Hollies.

Allan Baker was 'Mr Guild Hall' to celebrities and public alike.

He was also "Big Al" to many of snooker's top names including Steve Davis, Alex Higgins, Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan during 20 years of the UK Championships.

Before retiring in 2006 Allan told the LEP: "I realise how lucky I have been to work with stars like those.”

One of the biggest names ever to play the Guild Hall was legendary crooner Bing Crosby in 1977.

Allan was on first name terms with a host of top stars.

Preston was the first date on his British tour which included sell-out performances at the London Palladium.

Days after the tour ended Bing died of a heart attack playing golf in Spain. He was 73.

Allan recalled that performance in Preston, saying: "I have always been into rock and pop more than the Big Crosby type of music, but that particular night figures very highly in my top 10 at the Guild Hall.

"It was a privilege to work with such an ultra-professional."

Elton John became a close friend of Allan after his performances at the Guild Hall in the seventies.

Allan was at the Guild Hall when it opened in 1972. He was head of security, house manager, operations manager, assistant general manager and eventually general manager until he retired in December 2006.

During his 34 years at the venue he was the public face of the Guild Hall, a gentle giant with a calm demeanour and permanent smile.

He was on first name terms with many top performers and was the go-to man if they needed assistance during their stay.

Looking back his time at the Guild Hall, Allan told the Post: "I've got so many happy memories down the years.

Allan retired as Guild Hall general manager after 34 years working at the famous venue.

"They have heard of the Guild Hall in some pretty remote parts of the planet.

"One year we had more hours on television than the tennis at Wimbledon. Now that takes some doing."

Allan's sister Yvonne said: "The Guild Hall will be 50 later this year and he had been approached to take part in the celebration, but he was just too poorly to do it.

"Allan was so well-loved by everyone he came into contact with. He was so well-respected.

"Elton John became a close friend of his, although they hadn't been in contact for a while.

"His passing will be a big loss to Preston and the Leyland community where he was born and brought up."

Eddie Regan who worked with Allan throughout his time at the Guild Hall added: "He was ever-present at some of the great concerts and events over the years.

"We joined the staff together in 1972 and I could always rely on him as a friend and colleague.

"In recent years we often met and talked about the great years at the Guild Hall.”