Krissie Ducann has an impressive pedigree in show business. She started singing in a skiffle band in 1958 when she was just 14. In 1964 she formed a soul band called Cadillac and toured with Pink Floyd, Amen Corner, The Nice and Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix became her lover, as did satarist Peter Cook. Krissie remembers the period affectionately, “They were fantastic times touring in the ’60s. Everyone did it because they really loved the music and travelling together. There was none of this stardom, ego thing. The camaraderie was totally fantastic.”
She moved on to become a solo singer, signing with Polydor Records and having success with the single I Wanna Give.
“In the industry I was known as the problem singer. Record executives said I had a fantastic voice and could sing but when it came to marketing me, I was not good-looking enough.”
“Undeterred at being undermined, Krissie spent much of her early years fundraising for charitable causes. “I felt with this voice I had a gift,” she says, “and I wanted to use it to help others.”
She had a daughter to the actor Norman Rossington then in 1972 she gave birth to a son who was mentally disabled and epileptic.
She turned her attentions to raising money for Children in Need and in 1975 her son was featured on the Children in Need poster. When he reached the age of five, he was able to go to the Dysart School in Kingston, Surrey, where they lived at the time. In those days, special schools were not high on the government’s agenda for funding and Krissie threw herself full time into raising money for the school using her career and contacts to produce charity shows all over the country. Her efforts raised money for a swimming pool and a new roof for the school.
In the following years she became one of the main fundraisers for Lighthouse London (now a branch of THT) and formed the all-woman band KDC to raise money for both the Dysart School and the Lighthouse.
She pulled in help from her many showbusiness contacts and friends, including Kiki Dee, June Brown, Polly Perkins, Pam St Clement, Randy Crawford and Sting. Sir Elton John was particularly kind and matched pound for pound everything that Krissie helped raise from his Elton John Foundation.
Since settling in Brighton with her civil partner Bel, they have both made many friends in the city and become passionate supporters of the Sussex Beacon.
A few years ago Krissie decided she would like to write a book about her life, not so much about the stars and her show biz stories but more about her struggles keeping her family going and being mother to a child with learning difficulties.
Last year she got together with Maureen Ratcliffe who is the ghost writer on Krissie’s new book This is me.
“Getting it all down in writing has been very therapeutic for me. It was something I had to do. Maureen has been like a psychiatrist to me. At times the process was painful but I feel stronger now. I learnt that I did not really like myself, but putting it all down in print has helped me see the good things I have done as well as the bad.”
Krissie has spent a lifetime fundraising for worthy organisations and the proceeds from the sale of this book will go the the Sussex Beacon. “It was the sole reason I wrote the book. I love the place and I want more than anything to help them.”
In order to help her get the book printed the following sponsors have helped with the costs of the printing:
• Sharon Barr of Zone Bar – Brighton
• Gerry Breen of Coward’s Guest House – Brighton
• Barry Nelson & Justin Manning of The Queen’s Hotel – Brighton
• Neil Jackson & Bruce Rowley of Tree Lodges, Sodwana Bay, South Africa (living in Brighton)
• Georgina Ayres from Hertfordshire
• Lady Maria Dolan of Somerset
The book costs just £7.50 and is available from: 122 Church Street opposite the Dome and the Zone Bar in St James Street.
Krissie is launching the book with a book signing at the Queens Hotel on Sunday, November 3 at 5pm when she will do a short Audience with, sing a few numbers and yes you can buy a copy and benefit the Sussex Beacon.
Everyone is welcome, so go along and support someone who is doing something she really believes in and supports, raising money for people with HIV/Aids.