THE nation was in mourning this week over Cinderford’s most famous son Sir Jimmy Young, pioneering pop star, groundbreaking radio broadcaster and national institution - died at the age of 95.
Born Leslie Ronald Young in Woodside Street, Cinderford, he attended St White’s Primary School and East Dene Grammar School.
He lied about his age to get into the RAF where he served until 1948, rising to the rank of Sergeant PT instructor.
Later he emerged as one of the top singing stars on the 1950s and later won millions of fans as a radio broadcaster.
Fellow broadcasters and politicians have all played tribute to his contribution to broadcasting mainly through his long running Radio 2 programme.
But he is also fondly remembered in his home town although few of his contemporaries will still be alive today.
Cllr Graham Morgan said: “My Uncle Reg used to play with him on the green at St John’s when he lived down at the end of Church Road.
“I saw him when he came to Cinderford in 1978 when Frank Beard was installed as Mayor.”
Former Cinderford town councillor Cliff Adams said: “I knew his family quite well although he had moved away to join the RAF wen I was still very young.
“His mother Gertrude taught me to play piano when she lived on Belle Vue Road and I met him several times when he came back to visit.
“My sister Annie used to push him in his pram when he was a child.
“They were a very musical family and he had it in him through and through. When he was young he used to sing in the Baptist Chapel choir and that man could certainly sing.”
After leaving Cinderford in 1939, Jimmy, or Leslie as he was christened, never returned permanently to the Forest, but at the same time, he has never completely cut off his Forest roots.
He returned several times including recording an episode of ‘Workers’ Playtime’ at Cinderford’s Meredith and Drew Factory in Cinderford.
And more recently, in 2004, he did a one off ‘An Evening With Sir Jimmy Young’ at the Forest Theatre in Berry Hill.
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