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Magic Mackins - the balancing stars from Kirkcaldy

Father and daughter balancing act George and Margaret Mackin from Kirkcaldy, who were big stars in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Father and daughter balancing act George and Margaret Mackin from Kirkcaldy, who were big stars in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

 

Call to recognise dad and daughter who starred at the Palladium

They were one of the UK’s best known variety acts of the 50s and 60s - except in their home town of Kirkcaldy.

Father and daughter duo David and Margaret Mackin travelled the world and rubbed shoulders with the stars, but even some of their neighbours in St Kilda Crescent were unaware of their huge success.

David passed away on April 10 at the age of 86 and now Margaret’s son, David Kennedy says that it’s time for their home town to remember The Mackins.

He said: “The sad thing for me is if you walked round Kirkcaldy and asked people if they’d ever heard of them 99 per cent would say no.”

The act began after David gave up a successful career as a flyweight boxer when he married his wife, Greta. He had previously performed a balancing act as a PT instructor in the army and decided to begin again with daughter Margaret, who was aged just four!

She said: “We travelled all over the world but very few people knew what we did back home in Kirkcaldy.

“I was going to school during the day and performing at night.

“We were really well known in London and Manchester, but weren’t that well known here. It’s a shame really.

“But then we weren’t the type to push ourselves to become really famous so it was our own fault I suppose.”

The Mackins’ agent was the infamous Lew Grade and with his help would go on to become winners of ‘Opportunity Knocks’, appear on the legendary ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’ and mix with huge names such as Les Dawson, Tom Jones, Adam Faith, Tommy Trinder and The Tiller Girls, as well as becoming good friends with an up and coming singer called Gerry Dorsey.

“We used to travel from gig to gig with Gerry when he was doing the rounds in the nightclubs in Manchester and Leeds,” said Margaret.

“Then he was offered a song by Tom Jones that Tom didn’t fancy recording, and changed his name to Engelbert Humperdink.”

The act came to an end when just months before retiring in 1978 David and Greta were involved in a serious accident. After recovering David would become well known to a generation of Kirkcaldy school children as the town’s truancy officer - the “ticky man”!

Grandson David said: “He was extremely dedicated to his job and believed that children should have a good education and made a big difference to the truancy rates in the town.”

Margaret would also have a second successful career as a breeder of Welsh ponies, winning the supreme class at the Royal Highland Show among many other prizes.

Paying tribute to her father, she said: “He was a people person and always would help anyone. We had a very interesting life.”

 

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