Tributes paid to ‘star of the show’

Brian Frankland
Brian Frankland
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Tributes have been paid to one of Lancashire’s best known theatrical performers.

Brian Frankland, of Coupe Green, has died aged 84, following a long battle with cancer. Known for his “wonderful voice and good looks”, he took the leading role in many productions of Preston, Chorley and Blackburn musical comedy and drama societies.

His wife Shirley said: “He was a great social man and exceptionally talented. But he never saw himself as a star, he was interested in the whole production.”

Even as a pensioner and suffering with arthritis, Brian’s thirst for performance didn’t subside, and in 1999 – aged 67 – he was crowned the national winner of the Whitbread Senior Citizens Talent Contest at the Southport Theatre.

He impressed the judges by turning the clock back and singing The Floral Dance and The Sunshine of Your Smile.

His recording of The Floral Dance was due to be played at his funeral yesterday.

Shirley said the song was expected to bring a few tears.

She added: “But listening to him sing brings back the exciting, vigorous man he was, and wipes out the image of the fragile man he was at the end.”

Eddie Regan, president of Preston Musical Comedy Society, first met Brian in 1964 when he played the lead role in the society’s production of Student Prince.

Mr Regan said: “His performance was outstanding. He had everything needed in a leading man role. A great baritone voice and good looks.

“He was a man who could always be relied upon and although he almost always played the main role in our shows he was always just “one of the boys” .

“It was a pleasure to have known Brian and he will be remembered and missed by many of his fans who watched him perform in shows over many years. My thoughts are with Shirley, his wife, and all his family.”

Brian was born in Rawtensall in 1931 and excelled academically to gain a place at Leeds University, where he played for their football team as well as completing a degree and postgraduate course.

Following a two-year stint as a professional singer and appearing on Opportunity Knocks, he decided to start work as an agricultural advisor, at first working in London, then moving to Lancashire to work for Jerry Ingham and Sons, which was taken over by Pauls and Whites Ltd.

He left in 1986 to establish his own business, Frankland Feeds, with a mill in Lancaster.

Such was his involvement in the world of agriculture that he was a one-time president of the Garstang Show.

He was also a keen sportsman, taking on the Three Peaks Challenge and the Blackpool to Manchester bike ride, in aid of Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Shirley added: “When people are dying, they very often wish they had done certain things with their life, but not Brian, he did it all.”

As well as Shirley, Brian leaves son Mark, daughter-in-law Carol and grandchildren Dyonne and Courtney.