Final ovation for clubland star

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IN the final curtain call for a South Yorkshire clubland legend, friends, family and fans gave Tony Whyte a standing ovation as his coffin disappeared from view at the end of an emotional funeral.

Hi-de-Hi star Paul Shane, one of many well-known faces in the congregation, said he had known the flamboyant Sheffield entertainer, who died a fortnight ago aged 84, for 45 years.

Tony was well known in Sheffield as the compere at 1970s city centre nightspot the Fiesta Club.

Paul Shane said: “I can hear him now with his opening song Garden Of Eden. He was a real entertainer.

“He worked a lot with Lynne Perry and they had a routine to the song There’s A Hole In My Bucket and they could make it last an hour. He was well known by everyone on the circuit.”

Comic Bobby Knutt said: “He always looked immaculate, like a tailor’s dummy. He had an immaculate physique too – he looked like a star, a face you’d remember.

“And Tony had a very good act. He could sing, he had the material and all the patter. Yes, he could be suggestive but it was always good honest fun. He could always make you laugh.”

Singer Susan St Clare said Tony always introduced her as his ‘daughter’. She said: “He was great on stage but he had an acid wit. If anyone heckled he would always have a comeback.

“He always got plenty of attention but I always thought of him as a lonely man. He needed friends.”