A SINGER who played leading roles in musical shows for more than four decades has died.

Baritone Vincent Vickers, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, was a favourite with audiences around the North.

He sang at Newcastle's Theatre Royal and Gateshead Empire as well as doing seasons on Blackpool's North Pier, where a poster of one of his concerts is still on display.

Although he made several TV and radio appearances, he is mainly known for his long association with Ferryhill Operatic Society, where he formed a partnership with soprano Jenny Bellerby in 1947.

Later, with his wife Audrey playing the piano, he took over as the society's musical director, retiring in the late 1980s.

A tape of his favourite songs was played during his funeral service at St Andrew's Church, Bishop Auckland, which was held on Friday.

Mrs Vickers said: "He had a lovely voice and the service was a celebration of his music.

"Ferryhill Operatic Society was his great love and we both had many happy years there. We always worked as a team.

"Music was his life and he was happy wherever he was as long as he was singing."

Mr Vickers worked as a miner at Leasingthorne and Chilton collieries for 22 years and then as a postman in Bishop Auckland for the next 23 years.

With his wife he formed the Auvin Singers to perform concerts in Bishop Auckland's former twin town Bad Oeynhausen, in Germany.

He leaves a son, David, daughter-in-law, Karen, and granddaughter Kate.