Former DJ and campaigner dies

Ray Nortrop outside the St James Pool and Health Club, in Waterdale.
Ray Nortrop outside the St James Pool and Health Club, in Waterdale.

A FORMER DJ who met with a string of top showbiz names and also helped expose council corruption in Doncaster has died.

Ray Nortrop, aged 68, was found dead at his home in Cantley before Christmas after the alarm was raised by concerned neighbours.

His body was discovered by Moira and Martin Greaves, the daughter and son-in-law of one of Mr Nortrop’s neighbours in Askrigg Close.

Mrs Greaves said: “He was very well known in Doncaster, involved in charities and the arts. But he was also an intensely private man and kept himself to himself. We went into his flat because he hadn’t been seen around since early December.”

Mr Nortrop first came to prominence in the 1960s, when he became a resident DJ at the Top Rank in Silver Street, landing the job courtesy of disgraced presenter Jimmy Savile, who personally put forward Mr Nortrop’s name after the pair met at a wrestling match.

He helped bring a host of stars – including Elton John, Freddie Starr and Sir Bruce Forsyth – to the venue, now home to Trilogy nightclub.

In later years, Mr Nortrop used his connections to bolster support for a petition to save Doncaster’s Grand Theatre, which escaped the wrecking ball as part of the Frenchgate Interchange project, but still remains empty almost 20 years after it was last used.

He was also a key figure in Doncaster Council Watch, a group of like-minded individuals who set out to expose corruption in Doncaster’s corridors of power in the wake of the Donnygate scandal, becoming a prolific letter writer to the media as well as confronting local politicians.

His greatest triumph was securing St James’ Baths from demolition as part of the Civic Quarter development.

Margery White, Mr Nortrop’s cousin, said: “He never spoke about his life.”

Doncaster Coroner’s office said Mr Nortrop was found on Saturday, December 22. An inquest has been opened and adjourned.