"Who calls?"



Nauticold'n trainit


Actyup in spotlighty

Starrystage'n screel

Sitting cumftibold

As the new millennium ticked over, Stanley was still at work doing the odd radio job, the odd charity gig, the odd personal appearance and the (very) odd CD, and you'd be hard pushed to find a more contented person.


Outside of his work, he was very active in the local area around Long Buckby, always willing to help out at his daughter Lois's Infant School (recording and electrical equipment magically lasting way beyond their sell-by date) and enjoying the Presidency of the Daventry Choral Society. He was also a regular member of the Order of the Water Rats and took in the odd 'tilty elbow' on his trips to the society's HQ in London.


As well as being a grandfather to eight children, he was also a bit of a foster father to a family of blackbirds. One of his more peculiar talents was to be able to perform a spectacularly accurate impression of a blackbird's call. So much so, he'd call out to his band of adoptees and they'd come into his kitchen right on cue and make regular return visits with their young in tow every year.


And when Stanley retired as President of Daventry Choral Society, they presented him with a special piece of pottery emblazoned with the words 'Bye, Bye, Blackbird'.


At the belting age of 90, Stanley still had a number of projects either on the go or on the back burner, but he was becoming more than a little troubled by his health. Sadly, it was to eventually get the better of him and on 12 January 2002 he died peacefully in Dantre Hospital in Daventry .


For someone who was modesty itself and forever grateful for the opportunities he had been given, he would probably have been quite embarrassed at the length and breadth of the obituaries that appeared over the following few days: 'top billing' across seven columns in the Times; nearly a quarter page in the Guardian; two columns and a whacking great photo in the Independent, and online obits from the BBC right across to newswire agencies in Australia.


It was this same sense of warm recollection that pervaded the Service of Thanksgiving held at St Lawrence Church in Long Buckby a couple of weeks after his death - daughters Marion and Lois joining son John to celebrate their father's life; comedian Jim Davidson from the show business side; personal friends giving up their own stories with a knowing smile, and a service capped off with a poignant and moving rendition of 'Bye, Bye, Blackbird' by John Percival and Friends.


And wouldn't you know it? Stanley had even prepared his own valediction:

Goodly Byelode loyal peeploders! Now all gatherymost to amuse it and have a tilty elbow or a nice cuffle-oteedee - Oh Yes!

Deep Joy indeed.