When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Blue plaque tributes paid to Ronnie Barker and Robin Gibb
THE homes of the late Robin Gibb and Ronnie Barker were marked with blue plaques at the weekend.
Crowds cheered as a plaque was unveiled at the Thame home of Bee Gee Robin Gibb yesterday .
And tributes were paid as legendary comic Ronnie Barker was remembered at his childhood home in Cowley on Saturday.
About 200 family, friends and villagers gathered at The Prebendal, Priest End, Gibb’s home from 1983 until his death aged 62m in May.
Celebrities, including lyricist Sir Tim Rice, singer Peter Andre, DJ Mike Read and broadcaster Nicholas Parsons, joined Mr Gibb’s widow, Dwina, to watch the unveiling.
Mr Read told the crowd the Night Fever star was “one of the most successful songwriters of the last century”.
Paying tribute to his charity work, he added: “It was a privilege to know him as a person and it was a privilege to know him as a friend.
“I think I speak for everybody here when I say we really, really miss him.”
Sir Tim said he was thrilled that the Bee Gees had won recognition for their work, which included Massachusetts, I Started a Joke and How Deep Is Your Love.
He said: “It was so rewarding to see that their great work, phenomenal work, up there with The Beatles, Elton John, all great, great songwriters, that it was recognised by all and sundry.
“The huge crowd helped prove that.”
The placing of the plaque was backed by Thame Town Council with the Heritage Foundation, which marks sites that featured in the lives of top UK entertainers.
Foundation chairman David Graham said of the star’s cancer battle: “I hoped we wouldn’t be going to do this for a number of years. He showed courage and determination.
“It is a fitting way to remember a great guy.”
Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board normally honours people at least 25 years after their death, but also made an exception for Mr Barker, who died in 2005.
The Two Ronnies and Porridge star lived at 23 Church Cowley Road from 1935 to 1949. Lord Mayor of Oxford Alan Armitage, who unveiled the plaque, said: “Ronnie Barker lived in our lives.
“He was a product of Oxford.”
And Graham Upton, president of the Oxford Playhouse , where the comic began his career, said: “It is good for the city. “He has masses of fans around the world and people will come here now.”