Morley & District Family History Group




Phil Fryer "Just to be Frank"

......became Churwell’s village barber in 1986 when he opened his shop in the old Cooperative Society’s premises at the corner of Hartley Street. In addition to his hairdressing business he gave time and effort in raising funds for charitable causes.  For seven years he organized the “Churwell Five Mile Race” raising funds for the Forget-me-not charity, Heart Research, the Coronary Care Unit, the Half and Half Appeal and the Candlelighters Unit at St. James’s Hospital.   Many worthy charities gained from his racing in many gruelling events, Phil completed the cycle marathons “Lands End to John O’Groats” and “Morley to Siegen” (Morley’s twin town in Germany) also participating in the most exacting of sports, the Iron Man Triathlons, which involves non stop swimming, cycling and running, in various places including Germany and Lanzarote.

Whilst on holiday in 1997 Phil was persuaded to have a go at karaoke singing in a bar which he did reluctantly but his version of a Frank Sinatra song was so well received he decided to perform in venues around Morley.  His singing career gradually advanced further and further including engagements in quality hotels and restaurants and on live television.

Phil formed his own trio followed by engagements as a supporting act to Ken Dodd at the Frontier Club, Batley, to Les Denis at the Princess Theatre in Blackpool and as the main act at the Leeds Civic Hall for the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Bernard Atha.  After being filmed by Yorkshire T.V. he was featured in radio broadcasts and in the National Press as “The New Frank,” followed by a booking in Dubai when he was accompanied by the Yorkshire T.V. resulting in a 30 minute documentary entitled “Just to be Frank.”

There were more engagements including a documentary on T.V., a summer season at Pontins, Blackpool and at this time he had the privilege of meeting Mr. Frank Sinatra Junior who wished him good luck in his career.  There was a  major step when a big band was formed, with the assistance of his pianist Matt Stacey, who became his musical director and arranger.  Before the end of the year there was the opportunity to stage three big band performances culminating in a wonderful evening at Morley Town Hall when Phil took the risk of booking the expensive venue, his home town did not let him down, every seat was taken.  Since that time Phil has had a yearly sell out charity concert at the Town Hall well supported by his staunch local admirers.

His singing career is now a huge success and Phil had to dispense with his hairdressing business to enable him to fulfill engagements at venues all over England and overseas. He fully deserves the honour to be placed among a select group of Morley citizens who have progressed to international fame.



information supplied by R Barraclough

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© Carol Sklinar