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Oldest swinger in town says farewell

PUBLISHED: 21:12 23 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:14 03 March 2010

ROY Wyatt was known by thousands in the town as a man who loved a laugh and liked to party.

Sadly the oldest swinger in town's dancing days are now over as the much loved 76-year-old has passed away - but in just the way he would have wanted - after a night out.

ROY Wyatt was known by thousands in the town as a man who loved a laugh and liked to party.

Sadly the oldest swinger in town's dancing days are now over as the much loved 76-year-old has passed away – but in just the way he would have wanted – after a night out.

Roy, who lived in Samuel Court, Ipswich, complained of feeling unwell when he was in Chicago's on Thursday night but said he was going to go on to Yates' wine bar.

Mark Coote, who was working on the door at Chicago's, became concerned about him.

He took the great-grandfather up to Yates' where Roy said he had a bad headache and an ambulance was called.

Mark accompanied Roy to Ipswich Hospital where he died from a stroke in the early hours of Saturday morning.

"Dad was such a character," said son Roger, 50, of May Road, Ipswich. Even the nurses at the hospital knew him.

"He touched a lot of people's lives. Just about everyone knew him."

Father of four Roy was a baker by trade before he joined the merchant navy where he worked as a cook. Other jobs included working as a cook in restaurants in the town.

He loved meeting people and more recently used to collect the trolleys at Sainsbury's in Upper Brook Street.

But he is perhaps best known for his brilliant attitude to life – he lived it to the full.

He lost his wife at the age of 52 and wasn't the sort of person to sit back and let life pass him by.

Instead he became a familiar sight in the pubs and clubs of Ipswich and made many friends along the way. He never had to pay to get into clubs and his favourite tipple was half a lager.

Roger said: "He has always been the oldest on a night out, even before Pals and the other night clubs opened and there was just Liberty's. He loved having people around him."

Famous for not taking life to seriously, he enjoyed a string of comic moments.

When The Evening Star campaigned for its very own town crier, fun-loving Roy jumped in to offer his services.

He also made a joke about Labour's landslide victory in 1997 and went straight to the hairdressers for a brand new look.

His vibrant red hair-do was finished with the word "Labour" firmly printed on his forehead and the trendy pensioner couldn't wait to show it off to raise laughs about town.

Roy also loved bingo and caused a stir in the Mecca club years ago when Frank Bruno was a guest.

"The Eye of the Tiger Music played and the manager said put your hands together for Frank Bruno," said Roger.

Out came Roy prancing about on stage with boxing gloves on, much to people's delight. When Frank emerged Roy squared up to him amid roars of laughter.

"That was just dad," said Roger. "We would cringe but nothing would phase him."

Roy was also a keen Ipswich Town fan and enjoyed a proud moment when he appeared with the players on the Town Hall balcony after Ipswich won the FA Cup in 1978.

"Dad loved football and managed to get out on the balcony. The cameras were being unloaded and he just grabbed a tripod and went in. There was my dad behind the players."

He had another brush with fame after Benny Hill's side-kick passed away and Roy offered to be his replacement. He didn't get the job but instead got a signed photo from Benny Hill.

Ironically Roy died at the time when he had just been given a new start in life.

He had always lived in rooms and hotels but moved into sheltered accommodation in November, which he was proud of.

He will be sadly missed.

On Saturday night Chicago's played three songs in tribute to the popular socialiser.

The funeral date is yet to be announced.

He leaves four children, David, 53, Pat, 51, Roger, 50, Barry, 39, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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