Roland Roy, entertainer

Roy (right) and Jackie Toaduff with Ginger Rogers
Roy (right) and Jackie Toaduff with Ginger Rogers
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Roland Roy, who has died at 92, was an popular club singer from Sheffield who could count Ginger Rogers and Margot Fonteyn among his admirers.

Originally from Fir Vale, he became one half of the double-act Roy and Jackie Toaduff, who performed to high society on the QE2 cruise liner and to troops around the world – from the deserts of North Africa to the jungles of Indonesia.

Jackie Toaduff remembered his former stage partner as a natural entertainer and the “nicest, kindest man on earth”.

Born Roy Howell on January 9, 1925, Roland had begun his working life as a tailor, but it wasn’t long before his rich baritone voice began earning him wider attention.

He won £1,000 on ABC TV’s the 1950s talent programme Bid for Fame, and soon had crowds queuing outside working men’s clubs around South Yorkshire and beyond to see him.

In 1958, he represented Sheffield in the Clubland Command Performance at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, where he met Jackie, a coal miner-turned-dancer from Durham, with whom he struck up an instant rapport. Their partnership would endure for more than half a century.

As Mr Toaduff put it: “He was a singer who could dance a bit, and I was a dancer who could sing a bit.”