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Long-lost cousins from fishmonger family hoping to reel in a Eurovision hit

Singing fishmonger John Perry has his sights set on next year's Eurovision song contest ­– after teaming up with his long-lost cousin who has previous experience of the competition.

Roy Bishop, using the name Roy Silver, was lead singer of The Vampires
Roy Bishop, using the name Roy Silver, was lead singer of The Vampires

John and his cousin Roy Bishop were finally reunited last month when they met for the first time in 60 years.

Born into the Perry's fish dynasty, their family owned a well-known Wolverhampton-based chain of fishmongers, which also supplied wet fish to a large number of fish shops from Bilston to Albrighton.

Despite an 11-year age gap, the pair spent a lot of time together, first meeting at the shop kept by John's father in Heath Town when John was two and Roy was 13.

They were both brought up in the Penn area of Wolverhampton, Roy attending St Peter's Collegiate School in the town, and John Springfield Secondary, and both played at full-back for their school teams, although the age gap meant they never actually met on the pitch. And both of them loved music.

Roy, who adopted the stage name Roy Silver, was the lead singer in a group called Roy Silver and The Vampires, performing in the early 1960s when Beatlemania was at its height.

John went on to join a band called The Vibe, with which he still performs gigs around the Midlands.

The pair lost touch as Roy's parents Vic and Phyllis moved to Chetwynd Aston, near Newport, and Roy became a chartered surveyor before moving to Cork in the early 1970s. John remained in the Midlands, marrying Gill and, by coincidence, also living in Newport.

While living in Ireland, Roy became the manager of singer Cathal Dunne, the nephew of prime minister Jack Lynch.

Roy became a songwriter for Dunne, co-writing the song Shalom which won the famous Castlebar Song Festival in County Kerry.

The pair were then invited to appear in Dublin on Irish television's The Late Late Show, and EMI gave Dunne a recording contract at the Abbey Road Studios in London. A highlight came when Dunne represented Ireland in the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Happy Man, which came fifth in the final.

Fishmonger John Perry in his day job

Roy and his wife Carol – a piano and singing teacher – returned to England in the early 1980s with their to two sons. The family settled in the New Forest area of Hampshire where Roy practised as a lawyer.

Roy regularly returned to the West Midlands to watch Wolves with his friend, well-known butcher Arthur Cackett, and would stay at the Mount Hotel where he would get to know many of the club's players.

He had always wondered what became of his cousin, and in February this year John's band The Vibe featured in the Star after appearing in a photo-shoot at the Severn Valley Railway.

The Vibe recreating the famous Abbey Road record sleeve at the Severn Valley Railway's Hampton Loade crossing: Pete James, Rob Southall, John Perry and Chris Purcell

Arthur mentioned to Roy that there was also a 'Perry's Fish' stall at Lee's Farm in Claverley, and when he visited he asked John's wife Gill if she was part of the 'Perry's Fish family'.

Roy got in touch, and as they rekindled their friendship the conversations turned to music. Roy provided his cousin with the words to a song called Gabriella which he had written in 1977, but never got round to setting to music. John wrote a melody, and recorded the song which can now be heard on YouTube and Spotify under his recording name The Grundigs.

Roy and John finally met up last month for the first time in 60 years, when Roy visited John at his home in Chesterton, near Bridgnorth.

"We had an enormous amount of things to discuss about our families," said John, who is now 67.

"It was a wonderful occasion. We hadn't seen one another since 1962, when I was seven."

John Perry and Roy Perry back together again after 60 years

John, who now travels the Wolverhampton, Shropshire and Dudley areas as a door-to-door fish seller, showed Roy his recording studio and musical equipment.

Roy has now provided the words to another song, called Julia, which John will put to music and record with his band.

Roy adds: "We hope it creates a lot of interest so it can be adopted as the song that represents the UK at the next Eurovision Song Contest in May at Liverpool in 2023."

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