I HAVE not seen any reference to the passing of Des O'Connor at the weekend in your pages so I would like to pay this tribute to him.

He first shot to fame in the Fifties as a fresh face with a polished mid-Atlantic style for the new era of television.

In 1958 he compered Buddy Holly's only UK tour.

From 1963 onwards he headlined in various formats ranging from variety to chat, magazine and game shows until Countdown in 2008 which established a UK record for the longest uninterrupted spell as a show host.

He was able to move with the times and never fell out of favour as some of his peers did particularly when alternative comedy became established.

Despite the perennial ribbing from Morecambe and Wise he was a successful singer, having a number one hit with I Pretend in 1968.

Of the many YouTube clips of Des, I particularly enjoy his routine with Freddie Starr around The Skye Boat Song, which Des first sings to perfection as he did with Roger Whittaker only to have Freddie undermine it by whistling as

only he could.

Having the professionalism to keep a straight face knowing what was coming and providing the foil to Freddie Starr illustrates what made him so popular for so long both on television and countless live performances, not least in this part of the world.

John Bassett