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Tributes pour in following the death of a much loved Greenock barber

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TRIBUTES have poured in following the death of a much loved Greenock barber who set trends in the town for decades.

Popular Roy Smith has passed away aged 89 following a short illness.

His wife Dorothy and the family say they’ve been overwhelmed by kind messages flooding in from local people.

Roy started out as a lather boy after leaving school, learned his craft, and ran his own barber shop for 50 years.

Award winning barber Roy was famed for giving his customers the best looks around – from the slickback Frank Sinatra look to the 70s feather cut he was ahead of the rest.

His daughter Heather Radford, who followed in her dad’s footsteps and took Roy Smith’s barber when he retired said: “It meant such a lot to him to keep it in the family.

“He was so proud of the town and always instilled in us that where possible we should buy local.

“Where he could he always used local suppliers.

“It is probably one of the longest surviving family businesses.”

As they grew up his children Heather, now 64, Joan, 60, and son Robbie, 51, enjoyed the credibility that came with their dad.

Heather, who lives in Gourock’s Broomberry Drive, added: “There was a customer who had his first haircut from my dad aged 14 as a treat from his sister.

“Roy Smith’s the barbers was the place to go.

“He still comes in today.”

“We have had so many nice messages from people.”

Roy started out in the days when the Rat Pack, led by crooner Sinatra, were the biggest influence on fashion.

He then moved with the times, first in his Inverkip Street shop and then in Newton Street.

Joan said: “My dad was the first barber to give people something other than the pudding basin cut.

“His feather cut in the 70s was legendary.”

Roy proved an inspiration to all his family including his younger brother Ninian, who set up a ladies hair salon close by after learning the trade from his brother.

Customers returned again and again to Newton Street from all over for Roy’s cuts.

Proud son Robbie, who lives in Inverkip, said: “I went back-packing and I was in Nairobi when someone stopped me in the street and asked me who cut my hair.

“I told him it was Roy Smith’s Barber in Newton Street, Greenock.

“I also remember speaking to someone in Glasgow who told me dad was the best there was.”

One year Roy entered the Scottish Federation of Hairdressers competition and finished first while Charlie Spiers, who was with Roy his entire working life, was second and his brother Ninian was placed fourth.

Daughter Joan added: “You couldn’t go on holiday without him meeting someone he knew and they’d ask for a haircut!

“Someone even stopped us in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.”

At home family man Roy was a devoted husband to his wife of 65 years Dorothy, who is 83.

They had the most romantic of starts to their life together when he cycled all the way to Blackpool for a date with destiny.

They had met in the seaside town while they were both on holiday with friends.

Roy then arranged to meet the Bolton lass again, pedalling all the way back down to impress.

The lovestruck couple spent three years writing to one another before they were married and she moved up to Greenock.

They lived in Peile Street as they raised their three children.

Daughter Joan, who lives in Inverkip, said: “Dad just fixed everything, every problem you ever had.

“When I moved into a flat he taught me how to put up wallpaper and wire a plug.

“I lived in London for 35 years but came home to help look after mum and dad.

“I will never regret those last few years with them.”

As as well his life as a barber, Roy was a huge Morton fan and a champion cyclist.

Heather, added: “He loved telling a story about coming by Ravenscraig in his bike and being stopped by the police who told him he was breaking the 30mph speed limit!”

Roy was also a golf fanatic and a member of the clubs at Greenock and Skelmorlie, where he stayed for a time.

Both Dorothy and Roy enjoyed playing bowls together as well.

Robbie added: “He was so sociable and generous to a fault, not just to his family but to everyone else.”

Roy came from a family-of-five from Holmscroft Street and is the much loved brother of Agnes and Ninian, as well as the late Ian and Jim.

The 89-year-old was also a devoted grandfather to Cameron, Lindsay and Iona, a great grandad to Emily, Cameron and Heather.

He passed away on September 14 in the Larkfield Unit and his funeral will be held on Monday at Greenock Crematorium at 1pm.

Source : GreenockTelegraph

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