A truly remarkable gentleman passed away this morning, on his 84th birthday. Frank Wappat was one of this country's most eminent radio presenters. Here we are in July 1995, when I was given Semi-Freedom of Rochdale. Crippled with migraine, though it doesn't show. The event, celebrating my biography of "local lass" Gracie Fields, was hosted by the Mayor and Richard Whiteley, and filmed and broadcast on the television. Frank presented the radio documentary. The location was the beautiful Town Hall, and they had me up on the balcony, well aware of my horror of heights. Other local dignitaries attended. It was my second Semi-Freedom: the first had been in Enghien, France, in 1991.
Frank was an amazing character--what he did not know about our kind of music wasn't worth knowing. We also had a mutual friend in Dorothy Squires. Both of us appeared on his shows many times. Frank has been unwell for some time. Our love and condolences go out to his lovely wife. His cheerful banter will be missed.