Roly Polys star Mo Moreland has a colourful send-off at funeral attended by Charlotte Dawson

A freezing morning in Lytham was the setting as friends gathered to say a warm final farewell to showbusiness legend Mo Moreland

Mo, who spent a lifetime performing and charmed audiences on TV and around the world as a member of the Roly Polys dance troupe, died at a nursing home in North Shore last month aged 87 after a long illness.

Her long-time friend Tracy Dawson, whose late husband Les inspired a second showbiz career for Mo as he devised the Roly Polys, led the tributes and organised arrangements for her funeral at Lytham Crematorium, at which bright colours were the order of the day.

Tracy said: “Mo loved bright colours and it will be fitting if people can come along to celebrate her life dressed brightly.

“Mo was like a mum and a sister to me– my best friend and confidant.

“Mo lived with my daughter Charlotte and I for a time and she helped me bring Charlotte up. She was a great comfort when I lost Les and I will really miss her.”

Charlotte Dawson joined her mum among the mourners at the funeral, with those in attendance also including comedian Jimmy Cricket and Mo’s former Roly Polys colleague Sandra Griffiths.

Jimmy, who featured on many a performance bill with Mo and the Roly Polys, said: “Mo was a real pocket rocket – a true star who was also a great friends, who came to my 40th and 50th birthday parties.”

Celebrant for the service was locally-based radio presenter Hayley Kay and donations were invited to the Empowerment Blackpool charity, which Tracy said was a great help during Mo’s illness.

Mo, who long made the Fylde coast her home, was born Maureen McCluskey in Sheffield but moved to London as a tot, making her stage debut at the age of just three at Peckham Odeon as Little Maureen McCluskey attending the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.

Her real name was Mavoureen - the Irish spelling was anglicised for stage - and as Little Maureen she was an overnight success. 

Throughout the war Mo was in demand as concerts for the war effort and by the time the war ended, she was such a big name she was earning 17s.6d for a show.

"By that time I was The Mighty Atom, " Mo once told The Gazette. "My mum gave me the name because I was always going to be fat.”

"She said I had to make the most of my figure. You've got it so flaunt it. She also taught me that it would mean I had to be twice as good at everything at school than thinner girls - hockey, swimming, netball. I did the lot."

At just 4ft 11ins tall, she performed as The Mighty Atom and was a skilled dancer, particularly in the tap discipline.

She was married to singer Roy Moreland from 1959 until Roy’s death in 2001 and they performed as an act called The Mighty Atom and Roy, which was a big hit in in the clubs but they never got the chance of a TV break.

Mo appeared solo on TV talent show New Faces in the 1970s and it was in 1982 that Mo joined The Roly Polys, after her great mate Les Dawson suggested the all singing and dancing act to her.

By herself, she continued to go by the name of The Mighty Atom and she appeared on TV shows such as Blankety Blank, Bullseye and Game for a Laugh in both guises in the 1980s.

Her TV credits also included an appearance in Coronation Street and in 1992 she was the subject of a This Is Your Life tribute presented by Michael Aspel on which stars who lined up to pay their TV tribute to Mighty Mo, included Les, Su Pollard, Bernie Clifton, Ruth Madoc, Frank Bruno, The Krankies, Little and Large, Lionel Blair, Paul Shane, John Nettles and Rula Lenska.

Mo was a keen charity champion and while living locally she was president of the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals.

Details of donations in Mo’s memory at

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