The Prance Family

Mike Prance Williams  1945

Michael was born in Cheltenham on 5th June 1945 on his paternal grandmother's birthday and was part of the 'baby boom' which followed the cessation of World War Two. His father Edward Leslie Prance Williams served in the Royal Navy having been brought up in Aberdare, South Wales where the family was highly regarded and fairly well off owning the first car in the town! His father later became manager of Hodges the men's outfitters in Torquay.

When it was realised that Mike was not destined for an outstanding academic career he was moved from Westhill Primary School into the private sector first at Ellesmere and then to Chelston College where he had the opportunity to develop his gift and interest in all sporting activities, soccer in the winter and cricket, sailing and tennis in the Summer. He became member of all the relevant local clubs. After achieving all the required examinations at the age of 17 he entered Lloyds Bank at the Torre in Torquay. With a particular aptitude for maths, and having gained immense retail experience working for his father in the school holidays, he quickly found that he had embarked on the ideal career for himself. At age 21 he was moved to the Truro branch of the bank where he stayed for seven years returning to Torquay at the week ends to continue with his sporting and courting activities and in March 1968 married Lesley Holden . Their two children Melissa and Timothy were born in Truro. Later on he was to claim that they were Cornish, but a colleague reminded him that" Just 'cos the cat has kittens in the oven it doesn't make them pasties, m'dear!!"

Mike gained tremendous experience from being treasurer of the City of Truro Chamber of Commerce, Treasurer and founder member of the Truro Junior Chamber of Commerce and Finance Controller of the Royal Cornwall Show. It was during one of these annual shows that he was spotted by one of the bank's Regional Directors and within six weeks had been promoted to Sub-Manager in Salcombe, a picturesque sailing town in South Devon. The Bank had obviously type cast Mike and after three years his next promotion resulted in the family moving 'offshore' to Cowes on the Isle of Wight, the Mecca of world sailing. Not surprisingly he became the treasurer of the 9 hole Cowes Golf Club where he achieved his first hole in one and reduced his handicap to 9. While in Cowes his wife, Lesley, learned to sail and nearly took part in the ill fated Fastnet Race of 1979. It was here also that Mike had his first taste of Round Table and Lesley, Ladies Circle, organisations, which were to prove to be very beneficial to them in future years.

In 1981 Mike received an invitation to become Manager of the Sandwich Branch of Lloyds in Kent and within months was heavily involved in running the Bank's representation at the Britsh Open Golf Championship at Royal St.Georges Golf Club rubbing shoulders with the great and the good at Jack Nicklaus' cocktail Party. He took on other treasureships, that of the local RNLI and Chamber of Commerce. Both he and Lesley became Vice Chairmen in Round Table and Ladies Circle. By growing the bank's business at Sandwich by 300% in three years Mike was again promoted to a prestigious Branch of the Bank at Eastbourne and after three years became a District Manager based in the Regional Office at Tunbridge Wells where he was principally responsible for marketing within the twenty-four branches under his control. About this time he took part in the London Marathon, while also maintaining his enthusiasm for other sports particularly golf and squash.

In 1987 Mike was appointed Senior Manager of the Bank's flagship branch in Brighton, where he oversaw a multi million pound renovation and saw the branch become the most profitable branch in the country. He also became a member of the Brighton Rotary Club. After a further three years and having survived the recession, Mike was moved to his last position as Senior Manager responsible for the six branches based on Hove. These final years were probably the least enjoyable of the total of 34 with the Bank, and thus when the 4 branches then grouped on Brighton came together with Hove he managed to persuade the Bank to let him retire early. Thus started a new chapter in their lives, with Mike becoming more involved with the Royal Eastbourne Golf Club, leading to him becoming Captain in 2000-2001. This was a great honour especially for one who had only been a member for seven years. At this time Lesley also retired from her job as a clinic clerk with the Eye Clinic in the local hospital.

All through this busy and full life Mike has persued an untiring and committed interest in the history of the PRANCE family, accumulating and disseminating information from and to countless people and agencies around the world. He is the driving force behind the project and we are indebted to him for this. His efforts have culminated in the recent (2024) publication of a book on the PRANCE family History which details many branches of the family and the achievements of many individual family members. Anyone who wishes to order a copy should contact Mike directly. The book is supplied free but there is a charge of 5 Pounds to cover postage and packing.

History of the PRANCE family - Published 2024

So all Prance related people out there if we haven't already heard from you, contact us through the web site or mail Mike direct at......

Mike Prance Williams, Underhill, 75 Baldwin Avenue,
Eastbourne, Sussex BN21 1UL

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