Sunday, 22 April 2018

Britain : to this day and after 25 years, still no country for an old father called Neville Lawrence seeking justice for a murdered son

Neville, who is 76, was 51 years old when, on 22 April 1993, he was told, along with his wife Doreen, that his son, Stephen had been stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack by a gang of white youths as he waited at a bus stop with his friend Duwayne Brooks in Eltham, South-East London, Unbeknown to them, over the days that followed, the police received several tipoffs and the sources pointed to the same suspects : brothers Neil and Jamie Acourt, Gary Dobson, and David Norris and despite having enough grounds to make arrests, the police decided instead, to begin surveillance of the suspects’ homes.

On the 4th May, Neville and Doreen held a press conference and aired their frustrations that not enough was being done to catch the killers and two days later, they met Nelson Mandela in London. Twenty-five years later Neville recalled : "I remember the door opened and I saw this tall, elegant-looking man come in and I remember thinking : 'I'm in a dream.'" Needleass to say, police action swiftly followed after Mr Mandela's visit : the Acourt brothers and Dobson and Norris were arrested and Duwayne Brooks identified Neil Acourt and Knight from an ID parade and the pair were charged with murder, but denied all allegations.

In July they saw the charges against Neil Acourt and Knight dropped when the Crown Prosecution Service said the evidence from Duyanne was 'unreliable' and it wasn't until the following September that they started a private prosecution against Neil Acourt, Knight and Dobson.

By this time the strain was taking its toll on Neville who recalled : "I was told by my doctor to take a spell away. I'd been through three hard years of pain and suffering" and as a consequence he felt he "couldn't take any more." "I couldn't go to another court thing and I stayed in Jamaica until it finished."

The relationship between Doreen and Neville also suffered. He said : "We never talked about what each other was going through. We were never able to sit down and discuss with each other or with anybody what was happening. It was never done. Never been able to talk about how much pain each of us was going through."

Doreen said : "I noticed, more or less from the same night that Stephen was killed, how things was changed, just like that. People say it either makes you stronger together or it tears you apart. I had to keep it together for everybody and I expected some support from him and it wasn't there. It was as if the tragedy only happened to him and the rest of us wasn't going through anything."

Neville said : "It was like I was in a different country or different space. I was totally consumed with grief."

Neville wasn't there to witness their private prosecution against Neil Acourt, Knight and Dobson at the Old Bailey collapse after Mr Justice Curtis ruled that identification evidence from Duyanne as 'inadmissible' and the were three acquitted. He knew that the 'not guilty' verdicts and the double jeopardy rule meant they couldn't be tried for the murder of Stephen again.

Neville was 55 when the Coroner’s Inquest resumed in 1997 and he heard the verdict of 'unlawful killing in a completely unprovoked racist attack by five youths'. He and Doreen formally complained to the Police Complaints Authority about the police’s handling of the investigation. On 14 February, he saw the Daily Mail front page, display the names and photographs of the Acourt brothers, Norris, Knight, and Dobson under the headline : 'Murderers' and read the paper's accusation of their killing of Stephen and challenge to sue for libel.


That summer they met the Labour Home Secretary, Jack Straw, after his Conservative predecessor, Michael Howard, had refused to see them and as a result they saw the Home Office announce a Judicial Inquiry would be held led by retired High Court Judge, Sir William Macpherson. Early that winter they read that the Complaints Authority Report on the original police investigation of Stephen's murder identified 'significant weaknesses, omissions and lost opportunities', but said that there was no evidence of racist conduct by police.

Another year turned and Neville and Doreen called on the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, to resign for police failings and received an unprecedented apology to them, saying : 'I am truly sorry that we let you down.'

Neville was in his 57th year when, in February 1999, he read the Macpherson Report found the police guilty of mistakes and 'institutional racism' and make 70 recommendations on changes to policing and wider public policy. He also read the report suggestion of a rethink of the principle of 'double jeopardy', to allow the retrial of acquitted defendants in exceptional circumstances if new evidence emerges of their guilt. In April, he and Doreen saw the five men arrested in 1993 deny involvement in the murder in a TV interview with Martin BashirPart One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four .

The strains in Neville's marriage led to their divorce in 1999 and at the end of 2000, in acknowledgement of their failings, the Metropolitan police paid him and Doreen £320,000 in damages. But it wasn't until he was 65 in 2005, that the double jeopardy legal principle, preventing suspects being tried twice for the same crime, was scrapped for certain offences when there is new evidence.


The following year he saw the BBC documentary based on claims from former detective Putnam the the criminal father of David Norris, Clifford Norris, may made payments to DS Davidson, who served on the first police investigation, allowing them to be kept one step ahead of the investigation

Eighteen years after Stephen's murder, Neville and Doreen saw the the Court of Appeal agree that Dobson’s 1996 acquittal for the murder could be quashed in the face of new forensic evidence and had some satisfaction in the fact that, in November 2011, the trial of Dobson and Norris for Stephen's murder began at the Old Bailey. They heard Mr Justice Treacy tell the jury they must disregard previous publicity and “start this case with a clean state.”

At the end of 2012 they witnessed the conviction of Gary Dobson and David Norris 'under joint enterprise' for the 1993 murder of Stephen, after new DNA evidence had shown a blood spot on Dobson’s jacket, with a one in a billion chance of the blood coming from anyone other than Stephen and two hairs belonging to Stephen found in an evidence bag recovered from Norris’s bedroom. Neville was interviewed by Jon Snow on Channel 4 News before the verdict was announced. After the guilty verdict and the life sentences were given, Neville said, through his solicitor, that he was 'full of joy and relief” at the convictions.

That summer Neville learnt that The Guardian and Channel 4 Dispatches reveal claims by Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer-turned-whistleblower, that he was sent to spy on him and Doreen to find “dirt” on them, in the period shortly after the murder, in April 1993 and claimed that senior officers deliberately withheld this information from the Macpherson Inquiry.

This year, his 76th, Neville was told that Scotland Yard admits it has no new lines of enquiry in the investigation into Stephen's murder and is considering closing the case, but will wait until after the broadcast of a three-part BBC documentary, 'Stephen: The Murder That Changed A Nation', to see if any new leads come forward.

In that documentary they would have hear Neville say of Stephen's murder 25 years ago : "I still haven't accepted that I wasn't there. When you read the Bible it tells you in the day of Moses and the Pharaoh, one of the punishments that need to be dished out was that if you did something wrong, you lose your first born and so I'm thinking : 'Maybe I done something wrong."

Neville has said his decision to forgive the gang for the racist attack was the hardest one he would ever make, but that he was embracing his Christian faith, he is a Seventh Day Adventist, and planned to spend today, the anniversary of his son’s death in church.

“My family, especially me, I will never be the person I was before Stephen’s death. Maybe sometimes people think you can just brush things aside. You can never brush this aside, this is going to live with you for the rest of your life. This is a life sentence that you can’t finish. The only time my life sentence will be finished is when I’m in the ground.”

Neville's frank interview with the Daily Mail was published two days ago. He now spends the lion's share of his life in Jamaica and lives a short distance from Stephen's grave, but he doesn't want the case back in Britain closed completely and still, after all these years hopes for justice.

"My son is in the ground in Jamaica. The killers have walked around, some of them for 25 years, the only time I was able to see anything of my son was going to his grave. You do something, you should pay for it."


Thursday, 12 April 2018

Britain is no country for one old David called Ron Ryall about to have his house demolished by a young Goliath called HS2


Back in 2004, when he was 56, Ron purchased his house at Dews Farm on Dews Lane in Harefield, near West Ruislip, an area in West London which is part of the London Borough of Hillingdon. He bought it from the Council when it was semi-derelict and spent 10 years, painstakingly restoring it to its former glory.

The core of the house was built between 1575 and 1600 and towards the end of her life, in 1602, Queen Elizabeth I visited it for a few weeks and in 1896 the house was the birthplace of Cecil John Kinross in 1896 who was awarded a Victoria Cross when he was just 19 for his extreme bravery during the First World War. Unfortunately the planned route of High Speed 2, which will link London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester will cut through the living room and under the terms of compulsory purchase, Ron and his family have to be out by July.


Ron runs a garage, marked as 'Petitioner's property', up the lane from his home, a business he initially set up at the age of 15 in 1962, the day after he left school. It too will be removed. His son and his family live in a cottage in Dew Lane and his mother, lives next to Ron in a self-contained annex in what was formerly the servants’ quarters. In 2015 he said : “This isn’t a hard-luck story. I’ve got everything I could possibly want. I’ve worked all my bloody life for that – from a council house to a mansion. I’m quite proud of what I’ve done."

Seventy year old Ron asked the question about the construction of HS2 : "Don't you think the services are more important than getting to Birmingham 10 minutes quicker ?" and was followed by his tearful daughter Crystal who made her own plea to stop the destruction of her father's property.

Ron has also said : “Members of my family have lived round here since 1924 but we’ve got to be out by the summer. I have no idea where we’re going to go." He was referring to his grandparents who moved into a cottage in Dew Lane and "If I didn’t care about this place I would take HS2’s money and run. But I do care about it. All I want is to be able to keep my house and pass it on to my grandchildren."



HS2 first wrote to Ron in 2013 to tell him the rail link would affect his home. A spokesperson said : “We have been in ongoing negotiations with the owners of Dews Farm and following an assessment by a team of independent chartered surveyors, have made an initial offer. We know that every home is unique and appreciate that there will be different opinions about the true value of a property. However, we believe that this offer is accurate and that our proposal to pay for the costs incurred during moving adheres to the compensation code.”

Ron has been to Westminster to petition MPs about changing the route and exercised his right that anyone affected by HS2 can address concerns to a select committee of six MPs, who can ask HS2 Ltd, the Government-funded company that is developing the railway, to tweak its plans. In Ron's case there has been no tweaking. He was familiar with the British Constitution, but said : "We haven’t got one! And we should have. It’s all going wrong. This is wrong – what they are doing with ordinary people.”

Ron has said : "An Englishman's home is his castle, until HS2 want it" and :

“I love my country but I fear my Government.” 


Sunday, 8 April 2018

Brexit Britain is a country which has inspired old radio DJs like Tony Prince, to "throw out friendship through the radio and embrace all the countries of the world”

A new online radio station was launched this week. It was inspired by Tony Prince, a 73 year old DJ who has a long pedigree. Born in Oldham, Lancashire in 1944 at the tail-end of the Second World War, the only son of a scrap metal worker,Tony attended Oldham Art School and subsequently worked as a jockey, TV salesman and toolmaker before becoming lead singer in a local band, 'The Jasons', in 1959. In 1962, at the age of 18, he started as a club DJ and two years later he was expelled from the Musicians' Union for playing records in dance halls rather than employing live musician's.

He moved to Bristol to work for Top Rank, presented an early ITV pop music programme, 'Discs-a-Gogo' and then in 1965, joined the pirate radio station, Radio Caroline North, on a ship in the Irish Sea, where he developed his persona as "Your Royal Ruler". Two years later, when the Marine Offences Act banned pirate radio, he joined Radio Luxembourg.

Now, 53 years after he first took to the airwaves Tony, along with other veterans of the golden era of pirate radio, is embarking on 'United DJs', their new music adventure with the station broadcasting 24 hours a day from a studio on a business estate just outside Maidenhead. They aim to target listeners bored by the blandness of modern music radio, provide an antidote to playlist-dominated commercial networks and capture the buccaneering energy of pop radio in the 1960s and 70s.

Tony said the idea grew out of a meeting of old broadcasting legends at his home : “We are kind of a brotherhood. All the DJs of the past meet regularly to chinwag, and we were all talking about how bad the scene had got for radio.”  The former Radio 1 breakfast show host, 71 year old, Mike Read, 72 year old Dave Lee Travis and 79 year old “Diddy” David Hamilton are among the familiar voices behind a new station. When interviewed, Mike drew parallels between the movie stars creating 'United Artists' and their creation of 'United DJs.' It was he who launched the new station at 7am Monday 2nd April : https://radiotoday.co.uk/2018/04/mike-read-launches-united-djs-radio-online/


Other 'volunteers' working initially for free because, as Tony said : "Until we start making money, nobody is going to make money," are the 75 year old, Emperor Rosko, one of Radio 1’s launch DJs, who is presenting a Saturday evening show from his home in Los Angeles, while 80 year old Laurie Holloway, the musical director for Michael Parkinson’s chat show, will play big bands and show tunes on Sundays. In fact the all-star DJs are allowed to select their own tracks from any era and give free rein to their personalities, liberated from the restrictions of corporate-run stations.

Tony said they may eventually apply for a DAB digital licence and he hoped the network would capture the spirit of a confident Britain engaging with the world as it leaves the EU : “We are the Brexit channel. We are just going to throw out friendship through the radio and embrace all the countries of the world.” 

Successful or not, the new channel has certainly enlivened its old DJs and given them a sense of purpose and Tony, for one, said : “It’s given me a new lease of life. The adrenaline is flowing, and there’s reason to get up in the morning. I was going to start going golfing more often but I’ve cancelled my membership because I haven’t got the time now” and : "We feel like we’re getting a standing ovation on the radio. One listener said it was like he’d walked across a desert for years and finally found an oasis. People are saying, ‘This is what we’ve been waiting for, at long last something that breaks the manufactured mould.’ ”



Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Britain is a country where bowel cancer screening is a lottery for old men

According to Cancer Research UK, one in 14, mostly, but not exclusively, old men and one in 19 women in Britain will be diagnosed with bowel cancer and about 16,000 people die from the disease each year. If caught early, at stage one, patients have a 97% survival rate for at least five years, but discovered later, at stage four, this falls to just 5% for men and 10% for women. After prostate cancer, it is the most common cancer for men and level pegging with lung cancer.

At the moment there are two types of test used in the NHS for bowel cancer screening :

* bowelscope screening - a test where a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end is used to look for and remove any polyps inside the bowel.

* home testing kit - the FOB test - a kit used to collect samples of excrement and post them to a lab so that they can be checked for small amounts of blood, which could be caused by cancer.

As things stand at the moment bowel cancer screening starts at the age of 50 in Scotland but bowelscope screening is not until 55 in England, but not Wales and Northern Ireland and then, only in those areas where it is available. The the standard method is the home testing kit offered once every two years between the age of 60 and 74. Presumably, after the age of 74, old men and women aren't worth the expenditure.

BBC news presenter, George Alagiah, has said his bowel cancer could have been caught earlier if the screening programme in England was the same as in Scotland. He was first diagnosed four years ago, at the age of 58 and last Christmas he was told that the cancer had returned and it’s now stage four.

Now, with supreme irony, 61 year old Andrew Lansley, who served in David Cameron's Conservative Government from 2010-12 as the minister responsible for the Nation's health, has fallen victim to bowel cancer.

He said : "When I was Health Secretary, among the early plans for cancer investment that David Cameron and I announced in October 2010, was a commitment to introduce a one-off flexible Sigmoidoscopy, or 'bowelscope' test, at age 55, with a pilot leading to a national roll-out across England by the end of 2016. If this had happened, I would have been called to this new screening programme. But the 'bowelscope' is only available to about 50% of the population. A lack of endoscopists and difficulties with IT have frustrated delivery. Bowelscope could save 3,000 lives a year, but training and recruiting endoscopists and support staff will take years.”

Apparently, the Government aims to introduce a test for bowel cancer called FIT, 'Faecal Immunochemical Test', which should increase screening, detect more cancers and requires fewer endoscopies than Bowelscope. Andrew said that FIT : “should now be an immediate focus with a roll-out this year in addition to following Scotland’s lead by bringing forward the screening age to 50. I was fortunate that I was in a hospital that does conduct such testing.”

He described himself as "lucky" to have seen a GP who had referred him to a specialist and a “first-rate” NHS surgical team, who were responsible for his seven-hour operation but added that cancer survival “must not be about luck”.

Britain : A country where bowel cancer detection is a lottery and old men in Scotland have a better chance of having their bowel cancer detected than those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and half of those in England have a better chance than all the rest. 

Monday, 2 April 2018

Britain is no country for poor old pensioners in Dagenham, but is very much one for the well-off ones down the road in the City of London

According to a new analysis of Government data reveals big disparities in the level of pensions enjoyed by old men and women across Britain and the 'average pensioner' living within the City of London enjoys an income that is over three times bigger than his counterpart in Barking and Dagenham.


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Recently released HM Revenue & Customs data revealed that there were about 1,000 old men and women living in the City of London, which includes the Barbican Estate, who receive a total pension income averaging £37,900 a year and means that it tops Britain's table for pension income.

Yet a mere eight miles away is the area with Britain's second-lowest pension income where, in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, the mean average pension income that old people have to manage on is £12,800. The only part of the country with a lower figure was Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire where the mean average is just £12,300.


In addition, the second, third and seventh spots in the table of the highest-income areas were also taken by London boroughs : Westminster where pensioners have an average of £29,500 p.a,, Kensington and Chelsea, £26,700 and Camden, £24,000.

The insurer, 'Royal London' said the figures : “highlight shocking disparities in pension incomes even within the same region” where “very prosperous pensioners” are living only a few miles down the road from those who are struggling on much more modest incomes.

Helen Morrissey, Personal Finance specialist at Royal London said : “When it comes to pension incomes, there is not a simple north-south divide. While all of the top 10 local authorities are in London and the South-East, three of the lowest-income authorities are also in London and the South-East.”

In the other nations of Britain the disparities, while there, are less stark : In Scotland, mean pension incomes range from £20,000 in Stirling to £13,900 in North Lanarkshire and in Wales they range from £18,700 in the Vale of Glamorgan to £13,900 in Caerphilly.

* * * * * 
Charles Booth, the great Victorian social reformer published his colour coded map of the East End of  London 129 years ago, in 1889, and it revealed that Old Nichol, a slum in the East End of London stood cheek-by-jowl next the the wealthier district of Shoreditch to the west.










There were no pensions at that time. If poor old men, who made it into old age, could not be looked after by their family, there was no alternative but the workhouse. One hundred and twenty-nine years later, the modern day counterparts of the old men in the photo living in Dagenham now have an 'average' of £12,300 a year to live on, which means, of course, that many have less than this.


Victorian Britain : very much a country for rich old men and very much not one for the poor ones down the road.

Twenty-first century Britain : very much a country for rich old men and not much of one for the poor ones down the road.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Britain is a country which once made and now says "Goodbye" to an old actor called Bill Maynard

Bill, who has died at the age of 89 and who, in his long career on stage television and radio, had given so much pleasure to millions, was born Walter Williams in Surrey in 1928. before moving to Leicestershire where he was brought up in the 1930s.

He recalled : "I was born in Heath End, a little village in Farnham, Surrey. My dad was from Ullesthorpe. He was in the Army. He wanted to come home. We settled in South Wigston in a place called Lansdowne Grove, or rat alley as everyone called it. It was opposite the tip. There were rats everywhere. We were poor. I didn’t go to school for a while because I didn’t have shoes."

"Every Saturday night, we went to South Wigston Working Men’s Club. One night, the turn didn’t arrive so they had what was known as a “free and easy.’’ I went up and sang George Formby’s 'Leaning on a Lamppost.' I was eight. I went down a storm. The very next day, I was struck down with scarlet fever. I was in quarantine for 16 weeks in a sanatorium in Woodhouse Eaves. No-one could visit me, so my dad bought me a ukulele and a book on how to play it and for 16 weeks, that’s all I did. When I came out I learned the guitar, the mandolin, I had singing lessons, dancing lessons. By the age of nine, I had an entire act."


A bright lad, he passed the 11+ exam and attended Kibworth Beaucham Grammar School, Leicestershire and after leaving school started his stage career as a variety performer and got his big break at the age of 25 in 1953, with his first television broadcast on 'Henry Hall’s Face the Music' for which the BBC had asked him to change his surname and, as he was walking around London, he saw a poster with 'Maynards Wine Gums' written on it so he said to himself "That'll do."

The new 'Bill Maynard' got himself "a good agent" and he : "worked at Butlins with Terry Scott. We had a double act. I was getting paid £9 a week. I sent £8 home to my wife, Muriel and kept £1. I didn’t need much. I had my digs and food paid. I didn’t drink, not back then. I just drank Vimto. After a tour of army camps with Jon Pertwee, I had a steady stand-up slot at a strip show in London called The Windmill. All the BBC talent scouts came there. They knew if you could make people laugh at The Windmill, you could make them laugh anywhere."

He said his tv double act with Terry Scott, 'Great Scott – It’s Maynard' : "turned me into a superstar. I couldn’t go anywhere. I was a sex symbol. I was treated like royalty. I used to go to watch Leicester City and they gave me free tickets, drinks, a parking space right outside the ground."

By 1960 he a household name. He had it all : TV shows, magazine interviews, top hotels, adoring fans, loads of money - earning £1000 a week, but, as he said : "I went from that to doing local rep theatre, earning £9 a week. Why? Because I has this silly idea that I wanted to be a serious act-or."

It had been a traumatic experience and when he was back on his feet he said to Muriel : “Just promise me one thing, my darling. Never make me go back to the clubs again.’’  With understatement he confessed : "It was a mistake. First, it nearly ruined me. I was paying tax a year behind my earnings. So when I was bringing home £9, I was paying tax on £1,000 a week. I had to sell my house, three cars, everything I possessed in Hampshire. I went back to working the clubs. I was heckled. People called me a has-been. It was awful." 

Part of his recovery involved appearances in a series of 'Carry On' films in the early 1970s : 'Loving,' 'Henry,' 'at Your Convenience,' 'Matron' and 'Dick' as well as serious roles in Dennis Potter's tv play, 'Paper Roses' in 1971 in which he starred as a reporter, Clarence Hubbard, on the last day of his life and Colin Welland's tv play, 'Kisses at Fifty' in 1973 in which he led as Harry.

Bill returned to centre stage with a comedy based on Sapcote Working Men’s Club and in particular, the man who ran it. As he recalled : "I came back to comedy. I enjoyed it, and what took me a long time to realise is that not everyone can do it. I did 'This Is Your Life.' I wrote my biography : 'The Yo-Yo Man.' And I had this idea. I wanted to do something about my local working men’s club, especially this larger-than-life character called Peter Wright. He was a gregarious chap, full of life. Everyone loved him. He loved everyone. Peter became Selwyn Froggitt."

After a pilot episode in 1974, he starred in the Yorkshire Television sitcom 'Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt!' over four series from 1976–78 and with viewing figures over 20 million and was followed by 'The Gaffer' which ran from 1981 - 83 and who he described as "a grumpy old so-and-so who hated the world" and was a "good contrast" to Selwyn and "was so well-written, full of great lines: “It’s not what you know or who you know – it’s what you know about who you know.” "

Personal tragedy now struck with Muriel's death from cancer and Bill went on the road performing with actor pals and drinking buddies when he got a call from a tv director who said : “There’s this roguish character. I don’t know if you’re right for it, he’s called Claude Greengrass.” Bill played the lovable old rogue in 'Heartbeat' from 1992 -2000 and its spin off series, 'The Royal' until 2003 when he was 75.

He recalled that : "Greengrass was little more than a walk-on part, but they offered me a nice fee for the first episode so I did it. I worked on him. I gave him a bit of humour. They hadn’t planned that, but they liked it. I did the first episode and you know the rest. I was there for nine years. He put me back on top."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAT-aX7-eiY

His tenure are Greengrass in Heartbeat was cut short by a stroke : "I spent 16 weeks in Leicester General Hospital. I thought I was buggered. It took my left side, but not my speech and not my marbles, thankfully" and "When they did 'The Royal', a spin-off of Heartbeat, they wanted Greengrass to play a bigger role. I wondered how I’d do that, after my stroke, but he was in hospital, so that was ideal. I went from one hospital bed to another."

In 2003, Bill began work as a presenter on BBC Radio Leicester, where he had last worked in 1968 and his show, 'Bill of Fare', aired every Sunday afternoon for nearly five years, until he was dismissed without notice on 5 February 2008.

According to Bill all went well until a new head of radio was appointed : "She wouldn’t let me play my own choice of music. They moved my time slot around. They didn’t want me talking to the traffic girls. I had to stop being so controversial. I knew what they wanted. They wanted me out. But I said to them: “I won’t leave – you will have to sack me.’’ They did eventually. It took them three years, though. “I hope you’re not going to be too bitter about this Bill,’’ the boss said when I left. I knew what she meant. But I rang the Mercury the next day.”‘I’ve got a story for you,’’ I said. “Radio Leicester sacks Greengrass.’’ And that was the headline the next day."

Bill, who, like many who find their forte by generating laughter, was at heart a serious man and once said :

"I wish, when I was younger, I didn’t have so much fear. Fear stops you doing things. I read a brilliant self-help book once which said you should do something you are afraid to do every day. I did that. Then I did two things, then three. Then I found I was living my life without fear. That’s the key to a good life."

Bill sings 'Heartbeat'