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Obituary: Stars sing the praises of double Eurovision contestant Ronnie Carroll

Published 15/04/2015

Heart-throb: Ronnie Carroll
Heart-throb: Ronnie Carroll

Veteran pop star Ronnie Carroll, who has died at 80, never lost his love of Belfast, where he was born in Roslyn Street as Ronnie Cleghorn.

In the 50s he was a roadie for a duo called The Recordites and later adopted the surname of one member of the act, George Carroll, who died just three weeks ago. It brought him instant success and he had a huge hit with Roses Are Red, which is still played regularly today. Ronnie Carroll was one of the first pop artists to make the big time from Northern Ireland. The girls loved his good looks and velvet voice and he was a regular in the Grand Opera House.

Carroll, who lived in Hampstead, was the only singer to represent the UK two years in succession on Eurovision - 1962 with Ring-a-Ding Girl and 1963 with Say Wonderful Things.

In latter years he got involved with politics as a candidate for the Rainbow Dream Ticket Party run by Rainbow George Weiss, but was never taken seriously when he contested seats in Belfast at the last general election. He got 29 votes and revealed he wanted to be the first candidate to get none.

Broadcaster George Jones said: "Ronnie was one of those larger-than-life characters you thought would go on forever. He was still singing on cruise ships until comparatively recently. "

Carroll will be remembered in a show called The Rock'n' Roll'n'Years which Jones and promoter David Hull are touring this summer.

Carroll, who was once married to singer Millicent Martin, died of cancer and would have been involved in the forthcoming general election if he hadn't been ill, this time with a party called Make Politicians History.

Songwriter Phil Coulter said: "Every time I saw Ronnie on stage I had a sense of pride that he was one of ours."

Belfast Telegraph

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