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Was this home to Buddy Holly?

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:39 06 July 2010

It might look a little like a rock and roll car, but it's the rock and roll star that is believed to have stayed in this ornate caravan during the late-1950s which has got the man restoring it all shook up.

It might look a little like a rock and roll car, but it's the rock and roll star that is believed to have stayed in this ornate caravan during the late-1950s which has got the man restoring it all shook up.

Legend has it that rock'n'roll pioneer Buddy Holly once relaxed in this Showman's Caravan while it was based at Yarmouth where he was supporting Billy Fury in the seaside town in 1958.

Debate over the truth of this myth has surrounded the travelling community for some time, but it is hoped that the rediscovery of the caravan - which has been lying empty on a farm near Southwold for years - will settle the argument once and for all.

Reuben Youngblood, who runs Rude Boys tattoo studio in Norwich, is the man with the responsibility of restoring the remarkable vehicle which is styled like a 1950s Cadillac car, complete with fins, - and is looking to uncover the truth about its history of excess.

Mr Youngblood, or Leveridge to give him his travelling name, has recently started to renovate the extravagant trailer after it was picked up by his uncle.

“My uncle acquired it and brought it over but isn't in a position where he has the time to restore it so I took it on and am doing the restoration myself,” he said.

“It's a Showman's caravan. It was made for the fairground. There's a lot of myth around it, a lot of people saying different things. There are rumours that Buddy Holly stayed in it when he did his tour in 1958.

“All we can find out at that time was Buddy Holly was supporting Billy Fury in 1958 and he stayed in private accommodation. It was there at that time. We're trying to separate fact from fiction and get some hard facts.

“Some people call it the Elvis bus others the Buddy Holly van - there's all sorts of different rumours but as far as I know no-one has seen it for 20 years. It's a hell of a thing - these things only come up once in a lifetime which is why I had to get it.”

Mr Youngblood is was appealing for help from people to let him know more about the history of the caravan which is believed to have been commissioned in 1948 and built in 1950.

“It was built for the Grays,” said the 35-year-old-father-of-two. “It was sat on Yarmouth sea front for some time then they sold it on. A new age traveller had it for a while. I've heard about it for about 10 years, but never had the chance to see it. If someone was in the Yarmouth area in the 1950s, 1960s, or even 1970s, they would have remembered it - it's a complete one off.”

The trailer retains many of its original features - including a white Bakelite sound system, wooden parka flooring, crystal cut windows, scalloped glass pelmets, and calf-skin interior.

The four-wheel caravan, complete with mollycroft roof, weighs between four and five tonnes alone and would have been towed by a lorry.

Can you help piece together the history of the Showman's caravan? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

To find out which Norwich City stars have visited Mr Youngblood's Norwich tattoo studio see a special feature in the Canary preview magazine which goes on sale on Saturday, July 25.

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