Roy Walding lover of amateur dramatics and opera in the Great Yarmouth area dies at age of 84

PUBLISHED: 15:13 12 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:22 12 September 2017

Roy Walding  Picture: Archant

Roy Walding Picture: Archant

Roy Walding, whose love of singing and amateur dramatics greatly enriched the life of the borough of Great Yarmouth, has died at the age of 84.

During his lifetime he gave so much happiness to so many through his stage appearances with amateur operatic and dramatic groups including Gorleston Theatre Company, Great Yarmouth Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Waveney Light Opera Group and the Norfolk Opera Players.

He possessed a special affinity with the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, his baritone voice and wit finding ready outlet in the chorus and patter songs of their songs.

He studied singing with John Roper, a one-time member of D’Oyly Carte and also attended classes by Robert Yates of Norfolk Opera Players.

Mr Walding used to give talks to local groups about his theatrical and musical interests and was a staunch supporter of the Gorleston Festival in which he sometimes took part.

However it is as an author and chronicler of theatrical life that he may best be remembered.

He wrote Walls Have Tongues. Local and National Happenings, to mark the centenary of Gorleston Pavilion Theatre. His enthusiasm for the Savoy operas inspired Excellent Peppermint Drops, Gilbert and Sullivan in Great Yarmouth 1882-2004.

His biography of Stanley Holloway An Arm of Iron was the basis for the radio programme Pull Out the Stopper compered by Ian Wallace.

He was a contributor of letters and photos to local publications, including the Mercury.

Born in Cricklewood, London, in 1932, he was the youngest of six children, having two brothers and three sisters. He was christened Dion Gilroy, after the actor Dion Bosanquet and a certain Canon Gill.

The family moved to Luton. Following service in the RAF in Southern Rhodesia, he studied at St Paul’s College, Cheltenham, and Sheffield Teacher Training College, and became a schoolmaster. He retired in 1986 having served as headteacher in two primary schools. He then began researching the life of Stanley Holloway and became gripped by aspects of the creative arts.

Latterly he used to swim every weekday at Potters Leisure Resort. He leaves wife Sally and sons, Adrian and Simon.

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