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.
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
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.
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'.
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 .
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.
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.
wouldn't you know it? Stanley had even prepared his own
Byelode loyal peeploders! Now all gatherymost to amuse
it and have a tilty elbow or a nice cuffle-oteedee - Oh