Tributes to a 'king of theatre'

Dennis Royle. (s)
Dennis Royle. (s)

An “inspirational” Pendle thespian who loved to put a smile on people’s faces has died at the age of 80.

Hundreds of tributes poured in on Facebook for father-of-two Dennis Royle, who died earlier this month in Blackburn Royal Hospital after a couple of years of ill health, including a heart attack and a series of strokes.

Dennis Royle. (s)

Dennis Royle. (s)

“Dennis was just the most inspirational man you would ever meet,” said his grandson, Josh Hindle.

“He was known as ‘a true gentleman’ who was always smiling and was the reason I went into professional singing, acting and theatre.”

A man of many talents, Dennis had a passion for the theatre and was an “irreplaceable” member of the Pendle Hippodrome Theatre Company.

“He took part in every play, every show,” Josh added, “and if not, you could bet your bottom dollar he would be there watching on opening night, if not two or three times in the same week!

Dennis Royle. (s)

Dennis Royle. (s)

“If he wasn’t acting and dancing on stage, he’d be helping front of house, backstage or selling programmes. He supported the Hippodrome through thick and thin and always came to watch me in the shows I was performing in or directing.”

A proud family man, Dennis was married for 54 years to wife Carolyn, and had two children, Steve Royle and Sally Hindle, plus four grandchildren: Josh, Mark, Kira and Phil.

A true people-person, his popularity was evident for all to see when he celebrated his 80th birthday in May surrounded by friends and family at a party at Rolls-Royce Leisure, Barnoldswick.

“He was a kind, caring, passionate and considerate man, who always put others before himself,” Josh said. “He was the kind of person who at a family gathering would make sure everyone was comfortable, happy and had a drink and something to eat before worrying about himself.”

Originally from the South, Dennis, of Higherford’s Stone Edge Road, found another love when he relocated up north – Burnley Football Club. He made his living as a warehouse manager for a screen printing firm and then a velvet manufacturer before becoming a long-term landscape gardener.

Enjoying a creative mind, his hobbies also included gardening, craft-making and photography.

It’s no wonder, then, a memorial musical concert will be held in the near future to pay tribute to the incredible man he was. It’s an apt gesture for a man who loved to make people laugh and smile.

For, as Josh added: “He lit up a room when he walked in and will most definitely leave a huge void in everyone’s life’s but we know full well, he will always be smiling and watching over us.”

The funeral cortege will leave Helliwells, Stott House, Burnley Road, Colne, today at 1-40pm, then will go on to Skipton for a cremation service at 2-10pm, followed by a celebration of Dennis' life at Pendle Hippodrome Theatre, Newmarket Street, Colne.