Rhyl Town Hall was full to capacity on Saturday as people from all walks of life turned out to pay tribute to the man known as “Mr Rhyl”.
On what would have been his 90th birthday the family of Roy Turner organised the celebration of his life following his death in March this year.
Mr Turner died in Spain and was cremated in a private ceremony there, but he had played such a prominent part in the civic and cultural life of his hometown that his family – wife June and children Chris, Jane and Vicky – felt that friends and associates should have the chance to say their farewells.
Born in Stoke-on-Trent, he moved with his family to Rhyl in 1938 and he attended Christchurch Primary School and later the county school.
In 1946 he joined the Royal Navy and on returning to Rhyl establishing a flooring contractor business. He established Rhyl Social Centre, was a youth leader with Rhyl Boys’ Club, a founder member of the North Wales branch of the Variety Club of Great Britain and the Rhyl branch of the Royal Naval Association and was a long-serving chairman of Rhyl and District Operatic Society.
He served on Rhyl Urban District Council for 21 years and for six years was a county councillor. He became one of the UK’s longest serving school governors, and after serving on the board of Christchurch School for over 60 years met the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.
His three children all paid tribute to him at the weekend , and Chris revealed that his father had once turned down the offer of an honour from the Queen.
Roy Turner received what he regarded as his greatest honour in 2013, however, when he became the first Freeman of Rhyl in recognition of his vast contribution to the town.
Other speakers at the get-together were his grandson Nicholas Deigman, Joy Maguire on behalf of the Operatic Society, the Rev Stan Walker on behalf of the school governors, his close friend Derek Houghton – and Roy Turner himself.
A recording was shown of an interview recorded a couple of years ago in which he recapped his numerous activities and interests, and also spoke of the decline of Rhyl as a family resort.
The deterioration began, he said, with the formation of Rhuddlan Borough Council “when all the surrounding villages – Bodelwyddan, Dyserth and others – put their hands into the Rhyl moneypot”.
If he were able to replace any building it would be the old Pavilion which was demolished on safety grounds, he commented.
To applause from the audience, the film ended with his comment: “I have had a good life.”
Roy Turner was an an enthusiastic chef, and on leaving the Town Hall everyone received a packet of his favourite oatcakes with a copy of his favourite recipe.