Obituary: “Dolly” John Humphreys

John Philip Humphreys (left) with friends, February 3 1947 to June 9 2022. RIP.

A popular, amateur cabaret star in Pattaya for many years, John Humphreys has died in hospital in Cambodia at age 75. He had long suffered from diabetes and cancer, but bore the pain stoically until the last few weeks. A Londoner, John spent most of his working life in UK as a hairdresser and, in later years, as a hospital administrator dealing with the care of terminally-ill patients. He later used this experience as a volunteer hospital visitor for three embassies in Thailand.

He retired to Pattaya in 1999 where he teamed up with bar manager David Kerridge to form a comedy-song routine known as the Dolly Sisters. They helped to raise cash for aids-related charities by street-theatre performances and appearances in clubs both in Pattaya and Bangkok. David, best known as manager of Le Cafe Royale and Panorama in Pattaya’s so-called Boyztown, returned to UK in 2018 for health-related reasons and died there last year.

John, always a guy with itchy feet, moved to Cambodia, in 2016 and stayed permanently, much to his friends’ surprise. He made a few guest appearances in local Siem Reap clubs, but lived mostly a quiet life in a rural village several kilometers out of town, making only three short visits to Thailand in six years. Latterly, his health declined significantly and he was mostly confined to his modest flat and the company of his cat Judy.

He lived on a very limited budget which, unfortunately, meant he was without medical insurance. Cambodian and British friends rallied to fund palliative care towards the end when he was mostly unconscious. His UK relatives declined financial assistance. John had a strong sense of humour and often admitted, “I have always had a liking for champagne, but on a lemonade budget.” The British embassy in Phnom Penh is aware of the death.

Earlier Report: British embassies emphasize they cannot pay expat hospital bills