10:30AM, Thursday 10 July 2014
Club singer and lifelong Maidonian Terry Franks has passed away aged 73.
Terry was born in the town in 1940 after his mother Katherine left London's East End to escape the blitz.
He lived in Whurley Way on the Spencers Estate and began singing at the village hall in Woodlands Park in 1958.
His son, Paul, said the crooner was signed by major record label EMI in 1960 and auditioned at the famous Abbey Road studios in North London.
Despite recording two demo singles, EMI never released his music but the family still have copies of letters from the record company.
He said: "He never quite made it. He was on the circuit, he used to tour with Adam Faith and Gene Vincent.
"He stopped singing, met my mother, married her, had children. He started again in 1980/1981. He worked on the circuit for 20 to 25 years."
With his bands The Avalons and The Reflections Terry charmed audiences throughout the Thames Valley and West London.
He included hits from the 1950s and 1960s in his set and always dedicated 45 minutes of each performance to the king himself, Elvis Presley.
Terry had even got to the final of an Elvis impersonation contest at London's Lyceum in 1985.
The man known in his youth as the 'The Whurley Way Warbler' often played benefit gigs in the 1990s, including concerts at St Mark's Hospital and Desborough College.
He had three children with his wife Geraldine - Ian, Paul and Jennie - and the family lived in Pinkneys Green and then Furze Platt.
He passed away on Monday, July 7, aged 73.
Paul added: "He was a very popular local man, a successful singer, great father and grandfather. 'A true gentleman' is how people would describe him."
Funeral details have not been confirmed.
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