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Tributes to Wirral-born Coronation Street star
TRIBUTES have been paid to Wirral-born Coronation Street actor Geoffrey Hughes, who has died.
The Wallasey-born star, known to millions as binmen Eddie Yates in the ITV soap died "peacefully in his sleep" on Friday night following a "long courageous battle" with prostate cancer, his agent said.
The 68-year-old also played Twiggy in TV comedy The Royle Family and Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances.
Among those paying tribute was Wirral-based Radio City presenter Pete Price told the Globe: “I’m a Coronation Street fanatic, have been all my life. To me, one of the greatest part of it was Stan and Hilda Ogden and Eddie.
“Geoffrey was a very humble man. He was a lovely bloke, who never forgot who was or where he was from. He loved acting, but I don’t think he realised how big a star he was.”
Recalling the first time he met Geoffrey, Pete continued: “I did what I did when I first met Jean Alexander who played Hilda. I was lost for words and didn’t know what to say. But Geoffrey was very reassuring and just said ‘calm down, calm down.”
Geoffrey, who appeared in the soap during the 1970s and 1980s, was rushed to hospital for intense radiotherapy in 2010 after collapsing at his Isle of Wight home. The actor thought he had beaten prostate cancer the previous year, but the star and wife Sue were given the news the disease had returned.
A public supporter of cancer charities, he first appeared in 1960s classics such as Z-Cars and The Likely Lads and was the voice of Paul McCartney in the Beatles film The Yellow Submarine. Other roles included Vernon in Heartbeat and Uncle Keith in teen drama Skins. He also guest-starred in episodes of Doctor Who, Casualty, Boon and The Upper Hand and left Coronation Street in 1984. In 2009 he was appointed Deputy Lord Lieutenant for the Isle of Wight, making him "the official link between the island and royalty at formal engagements".
A Coronation Street spokeswoman said: "We are very sad to hear of the death of Geoffrey Hughes. “He created a legendary and iconic character in Eddie Yates who will always be part of Coronation Street. Everyone connected with the programme send our sincerest condolences to his family."
Tributes poured in for the actor as word spread of his death. Long-serving Coronation Street star William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in the soap, said: "I am so sorry to hear about Geoffrey. He was a warm, lovable actor, with great comedy timing. He will be greatly missed, one of the Street's memorable characters."
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