Sussex couple’s poignant memories of entertainer Des O’Connor

Poignant memories have been stirred up for a Sussex couple following the death of star entertainer Des O’Connor on Saturday.
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Dodie Tombs and her husband Don had known the singer-actor-comedian for many years.

“We were very sorry to hear that Des passed away peacefully at the age of 88,” said Dodie, from Crawley.

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“I first met him in Walthamstow in 1962, when he crowned me ‘Walthamstow Carnival Queen.’

Des O'Connor with Dodie Tombs on board the QE11 in 2000Des O'Connor with Dodie Tombs on board the QE11 in 2000
Des O'Connor with Dodie Tombs on board the QE11 in 2000

“It was right at the start of his career.

“In 1985 my husband and I moved to live in Spain on the Costa Del Sol, one night we met Des and his then fiancee, in our favourite fish restaurant on the coast.

“Whilst living in Spain we started cruising and we used to meet Des nearly every Christmas, always on the Cunard QEII.

“Des usually did a few shows on the ship then he got off at Barbados, where he had a holiday home.

Des O'Connor with Dodie Tombs on board the QE11 in 2000Des O'Connor with Dodie Tombs on board the QE11 in 2000
Des O'Connor with Dodie Tombs on board the QE11 in 2000
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“I had taught dancing for many years, including in Crawley, so when on board the ship I always offered my services to teach tap dancing,

“Des who was also a tap dancer never joined in, but he would always greet me on board with ‘Hello my favourite Tap Dancer.’

“A lovely man who will be missed by many.”