IRISH crooner and raconteur Val Doonican has died aged 88. The singer, who was a fixture on British television with his own show on the BBC for more than 20 years, passed away “peacefully” at a Buckinghamshire nursing home, said a statement from his family.
Doonican had five top-ten UK albums in the 60s, and although his music was ubiquitous, he became almost better known for his warm personality, colourful knitwear and rocking chair as his show, which featured his own songs, guest performances and chat, became a firm favourite with millions.
The title of his 1967 album Val Doonican Rocks, But Gently, which ousted The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper´s Lonely Hearts Club Band from the top of the charts, epitomised the good cheer which radiated through his work.
The songs for which he will always be remembered include Paddy McGinty’s Goat and Delaney’s Donkey.
The Waterford-born entertainer retired in 2009 to spend more time with his family, his golf clubs and his watercolour paints. He was also enchanted by the Costa del Sol town of Mijas, where, he told the Daily Telegraph on his retirement, he had bought an apartment with his wife, Lynn.
“It’s our Mediterranean heaven on Earth,” he said. “It’s funny, I never wanted to nail myself down to going to the same place year-in, year-out, but I’m so pleased that my wife decided all those years ago that we ought to have a little place in Mijas of our own.”
His daughter Sarah told The Guardian on Thursday July 2 that he had not been ill: “It was just old age, I’m afraid – the batteries ran out.”