TRIBUTES have been paid to a Wrexham film buff who welcomed people to the town’s big screens for more than 20 years and had watched more than 6,000 films.
Chris Haskins, 64, of Rhosnesni, was a well-known face at Odeon cinema in Eagles Meadow shopping centre where his friends have expressed their sadness at losing a lovely colleague with an infectious passion for and encyclopedic knowledge of the movie world.
Andy Elvis, Odeon manager, said Chris has been away from work since December due to ongoing difficulties with his breathing. He had been back in to see his colleagues in-between Christmas and new year before they received the news from his family that he had passed away on Monday January 27.
Andy, who worked with Chris for more than 10 years, led the tributes and said: “Most people in Wrexham will have had their tickets torn by Chris at some point in their lives.
“He was the face of our ticket check point and he will be missed a lot, not just by us, but by our customers too.
“The Odeon Eagles Meadow team, both past and present, have been remembering him as such a lovely, polite, kind man who was always happy to give people his time.
“His knowledge of films was incredible, completely irreplaceable for us, and it was certainly one of his greatest passions, along with American Football, specifically the Green Bay Packers and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
“Some years ago, a team of four of us took part in a national Odeon film quiz which we went down to London for. Chris was a vital lynchpin of the team and we won the competition against at least 20 other teams from cinemas around the country.
“We took home £500 prize money each and it was a fantastic experience. We couldn’t have won it without Chris.
“He just had such a breadth of knowledge from the film directors to the cast and what they had been in before and when. I just don’t know how he was able to remember it all but it was such a passion for him.
“He loved dressing up as film characters too and joining in promotional events we might be doing.
“I remember one time when we were showing The Rocky Horror Picture Show and he had filled in some paperwork which we use to log any disturbance that might happen during a screening. He had logged that there had been dancing in the aisles during The Time Warp and where it asked what action had been taken, he had written, ‘I joined in’!
“He was a wonderful character and coupled with his lovely, kindly manner, it made him such a popular member of staff and he shall be really, really missed by us all.”
Chris had watched upwards of 6,000 films over the years and his Odeon career began in 1997 when the films of the moment were Titanic, Men in Black and The Full Monty.
He joined the cinema operator at its former site in Plas Coch, Wrexham, after working for the former Marcher Sound radio station on their community action desk.
Chris said in a former interview to mark his two decades in the movie business that he first went to the cinema with his father when he was about seven or eight to see Lawrence of Arabia which left a lasting impression.
He was quoted as saying his favourite movies were both of the Magnificent Seven films, the original and more recent remake. He was a huge fan of actor Steve McQueen and admired Meryl Streep who he said ‘never made a bad film’.
Oana Mocanasu, Marketing Manager for Eagles Meadow, said: “We are so sorry for Chris’ family and his colleagues at Odeon who we know all thought so much of him.
“Our thoughts are with all those many people he was special to and we know there will be lots of our shoppers who will miss seeing him and chatting to and learning from him about the film world.”
Chris’ funeral will be held on Friday 14th February at 11am at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Herbert Jennings Avenue, Acton. It then follows at 12 noon at Pentrebychan Crematorium, Wrexham.