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Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Thursday, 8 July 2010 12:43 UK
Roy Waller tribute by BBC Radio Norfolk's editor
By David Clayton
Editor, BBC Norfolk

Roy Waller
Roy Waller was a popular broadcaster reaching people of all ages

While he has been poorly we've had to get used to a BBC Radio Norfolk without Roy Waller and it hasn't been easy.

There's a gap in the corner of the office where his desk is and it's a gap that can't really be filled.

Now very sadly we have to get used to him never coming back. His death is a huge shock and has left everyone here at the radio station so sad.

Roy always brought a cheeky humour to our airwaves and he was just the same in the office.

Most of the laughs came from where Roy was sitting and the very best broadcasters are the same both on and off air.

They're genuine characters who share their thoughts, their lives and their personality with everyone listening. That's just what Roy did.

He was a household name in Norfolk known to virtually everybody and it's no wonder.

He made his name over five afternoons each week but there he was again, usually twice on a Saturday, presenting his beloved country music and then in the afternoon as football commentator, becoming for everyone the 'Voice of Carrow Road'.

For someone who made broadcasting his fourth career, Roy Waller helped put BBC Radio Norfolk firmly on the map.

Road reports

He started work with an estate agent before going on to Norwich Union and then the AA where he presented radio road reports.

But the county knows him for being "the daftest broadcaster in the world" as his radio jingle used to claim.

He put laughter into the afternoons, passion into the football commentaries and country music into Saturdays.

He persuaded the fledgling BBC Radio Norfolk to hire him as a football commentator using his hospital radio commentary experience as the lever.

It was September 1980 and Roy was also the man bringing listeners the road reports from the AA in Norwich.

Roy's ability to inject fun into the office endeared him to the original producers and management team, so he was soon asked to do more work.

Roy Waller
Roy's dedication to Norwich saw him appointed Sheriff of Norwich in 2008

He eventually convinced the station to have a regular country music show. Rodeo Norfolk was born - a show Roy presented every Saturday until he had to stop due to ill health at the end of 2009.

In the early eighties, BBC Radio Norfolk began experimenting with a few afternoon formats but eventually gave the show to Roy with a free rein to make merry - and he did.

His fun and frolics appealed to young and old, and calls into the show from youngsters always ended with him calling out, "What's For tea, Mother?"

At which point a Mum would shout the answer from a nearby room. It became a memorable catchphrase and even a record release!

Fame

Roy's fame spread and as the eighties turned into the nineties his afternoon show was bringing in a big audience of all ages.

He married his programme assistant Sylvie and up to her retirement they became an afternoon fixture.

Roy beat bowel cancer and went on to support campaigns to give the condition a higher profile. Although he had to stop broadcasting to recover from surgery he bounced back.

It was a fitting tribute to Roy's dedication to his home city that he was appointed Sheriff of Norwich in 2008. By any measure, it remains a great achievement for a lad from Norwich's Mile Cross estate.

Roy was gradually reducing his workload and planning to retire later this year after his 70th birthday, so it is a real sadness he didn't make it to enjoy a more relaxing time in his life.

On a personal note I'll miss Roy's humour. Much of the mirth in the BBC Radio Norfolk office came from him.

In the early days he and Keith Skipper sat next to each other and the quips were plentiful at their end of the building.

Time together

Roy and I spent a lot of time together particularly when I travelled with him to some away matches.

I have many memories of Roy's wonderful and quirky radio work but perhaps the best memory is travelling with him to cover a midweek match at Tranmere Rovers.

Roy Waller
Roy began broadcasting on BBC Radio Norfolk in the early 1980s

It was a long, long way and we shared the driving. When we got to Prenton Park it was touch and go whether the match could continue as an evening fog enveloped the pitch.

With the commentary position at the back of a big stand, Roy could barely see any of the action through the fog although the players and referee could see enough to carry on.

BBC Five Live gave up broadcasting but Roy didn't. Norwich won although it was hard to see what Roy was actually describing - he just carried on making the minimal view of the match come alive for Norfolk's football fans.

Then we had to head home in the fog. I'm afraid my driving and navigation was hopeless as we headed towards North Wales and not Norfolk!

Roy never missed a chance to point that out to me with a big mischievous smile and that's how I want to remember him.

His contribution to local radio and specifically BBC Radio Norfolk is immense.

He helped put the station on the map and was always a superb ambassador for the station locally and the BBC as a whole.

We will all miss him and our love and thoughts go out to his wife Sylvie and all of his family.




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