Singer Shirley Western has been in the entertainment business for more than 60 years and now her life story has been made into a film.
Residents at Dolphin Court, sheltered housing in Worthing run by Guild Care, were given a special premiere of the new film produced by David Allen of South Downs Film Makers.
Shirley, 82, has entertained around the UK and internationally, and performed for the royal family, as well as with showbiz names such as Shirley Bassey, Eartha Kitt and Ken Dodd.
She has been married to former Chelsea footballer Roy Dew for 36 years and the couple lived at Dolphin Court for six years.
Shirley said: “When I worked at the Empire in Leicester Square, all the top footballers used to come in on a Saturday night. Roy always said he fancied the singer, me, and tried to meet me backstage but it never happened.
“Then 20 years later, I bumped into him in a shop in Goring and we’ve been happily married ever since.”
Shirley has worked in the entertainment business for more than 60 years, beginning as a child star in pantomimes. She was a chorus girl in Glasgow before moving down to London and was a singer in the West End for many years.
At one time, she led her own band, Shirley Western and the Rocking Ravers, and sang with the big band leader Ken Mackintosh from 1958 for 15 years.
David, who created the 50-minute film of her life, said: “My partner works at Dolphin Court, so I know Shirley very well and thought it would be great to make a film of her really interesting life story, plus it’s a bit easier for her than writing a book.”
This is not the first time Shirley has been on the screen, though, since she performed as an extra and double for Barbara Windsor in Carry on Girls.
Shirley retired to Worthing in the 1970s and regularly performed at the Assembly Hall and Pavilion Theatre. It was during this time that she met her husband, Roy, who has been a volunteer at Guild Care for more than 20 years.
Shirley and Roy recently moved to Littlehampton and the private screening was an opportunity for residents to say a final farewell.
She said: “We were very happy and well looked after by the staff. I’ve had such a wonderful life, meeting so many great people and travelling the world.
“I’ve been very lucky, although showbiz is in my blood as my father and grandfather were both entertainers in Scotland.”