Shropshire Star

Britain’s Got Talent contestant Audrey Leybourne dies aged 95

Dame Esther Rantzen, a close friend, described her as a ‘remarkable performer’.

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Britain’s Got Talent auditions – London

Former Britain’s Got Talent contestant Audrey Leybourne has died aged 95.

The singer and actress appeared on the show in May 2018, winning over viewers with her performance of I Wanna Be Loved By You from the 1928 musical Good Boy.

Leybourne died in the early hours of Thursday morning, the vicar of her church told the PA news agency after he was contacted by her next of kin.

Rev Simon Grigg of St Paul’s in Covent Garden, also known as the Actors’ Church, said she was an “amazing lady” with an “extraordinary career” and had been working up until 18 months ago.

He announced her death in a post on the church’s Facebook page which said: “It is with deep sadness that we report the death of our much loved friend Audrey Leybourne, who died early on Thursday morning.

“She was a remarkable person, a real ‘trouper’ of an actress (starting her career with Sir Donald Wolfit, no less) and a much loved member of St. Paul’s.

“She has a last message for you all. When she was in hospital two weeks ago, she said to me, ‘If I pop off, tell everyone I don’t regret a thing. I’ve had a wonderful life’.

“Quite a statement. Quite a lady. Quite a Christian.”

Leybourne was previously a member of the tap-dancing act the Roly Polys, who appeared on The Les Dawson Show on BBC One.

During her appearance on Britain’s Got Talent she amused the judging panel and studio audience with her suggestive answers.

Asked by judge Amanda Holden if she was married, Leybourne replied: “No, I was in love many, many times… 22 gentlemen.”

She also appeared on the stage and did her first pantomime performance, playing Potty T Potts in Beauty And The Beast, in her 90s.

Tanguera opening night
Dame Esther Rantzen was an old friend (PA)

Presenter and charity campaigner Dame Esther Rantzen, a close friend of Leybourne’s for nearly 40 years, described her as a “remarkable performer”.

She told PA: “We sent each other a Christmas card every Christmas, we had lunch together.

“She was multi-talented. She could do everything. She could dance, she could sing, she could play the tuba. She could act.

“And she was so funny. She was overflowing with humour and made growing older look great fun.

“She was delightful company, adventurous, curious. She just was so lively and so talented. She was a delight to be with.”

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