Tributes to 'cheery' actor

FRIENDS, family and showbiz colleagues gathered in Frinton yesterday to celebrate the achievements of a “cheery” actor who died after losing his fight against cancer.

FRIENDS, family and showbiz colleagues gathered in Frinton yesterday to celebrate the achievements of a “cheery” actor who died after losing his fight against cancer.

Ross Davidson, known to many as Billy, died on October 16 at the age of 57 after losing a 20-month battle against brain cancer.

Tributes to the former EastEnders actor from his brother Jack and close friend and manager Keith Bishop were read out to the packed crowd at a service of thanksgiving at Frinton Free Church.

His brother said: “Whenever you asked him how he was, all the way through the illness, he never moaned, he just said he was 'rinky-dink', which was a saying of his.


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“Last year when he asked me to be his best man, I said of course. He was my best man, best mate and best brother I've ever known.”

Many famous faces were spotted amongst the sea of well-wishers, including former Hollyoaks co-star Gary Lucy, actress and presenter Linda Lusardi, and Paul Barber, star of Only Fools and Horses and The Full Monty.

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Actors Chris Quentin, Giles Watling and Carol Harrison were also among those celebrating the much-loved Scotsman's life.

The Rev Ben Marlowe recited letters and accolades from people of all walks of life that had been touched by Mr Davidson's “cheery persona” and “charming smile”.

Mr Davidson's brother and wife, Barbara, with whom he has a son, Drew, eight, were joined at the ceremony by Frinton residents who had formed friendships with the family since they moved to the town seven years ago.

Earlier this month, Mrs Davidson told the EADT that her husband had never stopped fighting and had smiled throughout his illness.

She said: “He knew he had a fight on his hands. I think he always believed something would come up, the hope kept him going. He just wanted to be at home and spend time in Frinton, enjoying it by the sea.

“He was smiling until the end.”

Steve Pryer, a member of the local community, who became good friends with Ross through the town's tennis club, delivered a tribute that spoke warmly of his “spirit and sense of fun”.

Guests were welcomed to the service by a bag-piper, who also marked the end of the service with renditions of traditional Scottish songs.

Mr Davidson was born William Russell Davidson in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, and was a familiar face on stage and screen for more than 25 years.

Stints on EastEnders, Take the High Road and Hollyoaks made him a well-recognised actor, but he also worked extensively in the theatre throughout his career.

He was also a keen sportsman and in his youth had been a member of the Great Britain water-polo team and a PE teacher, before taking up acting professionally.

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