Peter Skellern 1947-2017

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Tuesday 4th April 2017

The hitmaking cleric Peter Skellern dies aged 69

ENGLISH singer, songwriter and pianist Peter Skellern, who had several hits in the '70s and '80s and who wrote music for television, died on 17th February aged 69. Peter was born in Bury, Lancashire and studied piano at the Guildhall School Of Music And Drama. He later joined the pop groups Harlem and March Hare. Skellern's first hit song was "You're A Lady" in 1972, recorded with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band and reaching number three in the UK charts and 50 in the USA. Skellern had another hit with "Hold On To Love in 1975 and also sang the theme song to the TV series Billy Liar. He recorded several albums for Island Records including 'Hard Times' which had a guest appearance by George Harrison. In 1981 Peter composed and performed in a series of musical playlets for the BBC called Happy Endings and two years later he hosted the Private Lives television chat show and wrote the lyrics for the song "One More Kiss, Dear" from the film Blade Runner (1982).

In 1984 Skellern performed the theme song for the TV programme Me And My Girl and in the same year formed a group called Oasis with cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and singer Mary Hopkin who released a self-titled album. In 1987 Skellern wrote and performed the theme music for the TV series Flying Lady and then collaborated with Richard Stilgoe in cabaret and musical comedy releasing three albums. Towards the end of his career Skellern wrote pieces of sacred choral music including "Waiting For The Word" and songs for the Hemel Hempstead choir the Aeolian Singers. In October 2016 it was revealed that Skellern had developed an inoperable brain tumour and that he had fulfilled a lifelong calling to be ordained into the Church of England. Under a special faculty from the Archbishop of Canterbury, he was ordained both as a deacon and priest on 16th October 2016. Skellern died as a result of the brain tumour in February 2017 and is survived by his wife, Diana, and two children. CR

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