9/18/23-Roger Whittaker: The Last Farewell

todaySeptember 18, 2023



Trusted Source: The Mirror – By Zoe Delaney/Assistant Showbiz Editor

Folk singer Roger Whittaker, famous for his 1969 hit song “Durham Town” (editor: and “The Last Farewell” in America) and expert whistling, has passed away at the age of 87.

The late singer began his career in folk clubs and went on to achieve huge success with the “Skye Boat Song,” a duet with Des O’Connor in 1986. Roger’s other hit songs included “The Last Farewell” and “New World in the Morning” and, according to his website, he sold over 50 million records worldwide.

Roger’s website homepage currently shows a picture of the late musician, alongside his year of birth and death, and invites fans to leave a comment in an online book of condolences. Writing on the website this evening, one mourner penned: “The Last Farewell….A truly great troubadour who brought so much pleasure wherever he performed.”

“In over 30 years of singing and playing musical sounds – the wonderful drumming, and those marvelous, infectious rhythms – have played a great part in everything I have ever written and sung,” his official website notes the late star once saying. Roger, an avid member of the school choir as he achieved top grade throughout his education, went on to say: “In the last three years of my formal education, I managed to work hard enough to get top grades in all my school exams and I had great hopes later of studying to become a teacher or a doctor.”

However, just three weeks on from leaving school, Roger was drafted into national service and spent the next two years in the Kenya Regiment. He eventually decided to pursue a career in medicine and went on to enroll at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Roger moved to the UK in 1959, studying zoology, biochemistry, and marine biology and setting the wheels in motion to embark on a career in music. Having already enjoyed singing and entertaining in local clubs back in East Africa, Roger began composing songs during his final year at Bangor University.

After recording two singles while sitting is exams, The Charge of the Light Brigade and Steel Men, Roger learned one of his tracks had entered the British Singles Charts – leaving him with a decision to make. Recalling deciding whether to continue his academic journey or try his hand at showbiz, Roger once revealed how one of his professors guided him into the music industry.

“Take your chance,” Roger recalled his professor advising him. “Have a try in show business and if you haven’t made it in ten years, come back here and teach. I shall always have a place at the university for you.” Roger took a chance on showbiz and bagged himself an agent and manager.

Away from music, Roger tied the knot with wife Natalie in August 1964, just three months on from first meeting and beginning their romance. The couple welcomed five children into the world together; Emily, Lauren, Jessica, Guy and Alexander. Roger last took the stage in 2003, when he toured Germany, and settled into retirement in France in 2012 alongside his beloved wife.

Written by: Barry Scott