Former Aylesbury panto star Gordon Bishop passes away aged 83

A photo from Gordon Bishop's big show, held in Tring in February
A photo from Gordon Bishop's big show, held in Tring in February

A former Aylesbury panto star has lost his lengthy battle with cancer.

Gordon Bishop, 83, was told by doctors in February that he had just months left to live.

The former Civic Centre pantomime star had been battling cancer since 2010, and passed away at the Florence Nightingale Hospice in Aylesbury on May 5.

Gordon played the role of Fagin during Oliver when the old Aylesbury Civic Centre opened before playing the same role again 25 years later just before it closed.

He starred as the pantomime dame for several years in the shows at the Civic Centre.

After the news that Gordon did not have long to live, his daughter Grace set about organising a night of entertainment and performances.

This took place at the Pendley Theatre, Tring, on February 18, with the highlight being Gordon performing an act based around 1940s comedian Max Miller.

Donations on the night and a JustGiving page set up by the family have raised more than £2,000.

The money was due to be spent on making Gordon’s last days as enjoyable as possible.

Grace told the Herald: “After the show dad got ill pretty quickly so we never really got to do all that we had hoped to do.

“However he did get to go to the West End one last time to see Matilda.

“The big thing we spent the money on is the story of Dad’s life.

“He began writing a short autobiography around his 80th birthday and then put it on the back burner.

“Since he found out he was dying he took it up again and with the help of my mum he finished it off.

“The money went towards having it beautifully bound and a print run of about 150 copies containing lots of photographs from the whole of his life.”

In his final months, Gordon received video messages from Sir Michael Parkinson and Matt Lucas who found out about the show put on in his honour.

A celebration of Gordon’s life is being held on Friday May 18 in the Milton Chapel at the Chilterns Crematorium in Amersham on Friday May 18 at 9.15am.

Visitors are asked to wear colourful clothing. Flowers are welcome and donations can be made to the Florence Nightingale Hospice.