Liverpool’s iconic Castle Street is to be temporarily signed as Roy Castle Street to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of the popular entertainer.
The new signage will appear from Monday 17 November for a limited time to honour the actor, musician, dancer and TV presenter, who died of lung cancer in 1994 following a high profile appeal to raise awareness of the disease in his final months.
Liverpool is home to Roy Castle International Lung Cancer Research Centre, on London Road, and Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, a national charity which has raised more than £70m since his death to fund research into the UK’s deadliest cancer killer and support patients and families affected by this terrible disease.
Roy’s widow Fiona Castle will attend an official launch event on Monday alongside the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Erica Kemp and Professor Ray Donnelly, founder and chairman of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: “This has been a special year for us as we remember Roy’s fortitude in the face of overwhelming odds to spread the word about the dangers of lung cancer. We have had incredible backing from the public, who have supported us generously with both their time and money.
“Roy’s work inspired generations of fundraisers, volunteers and researchers and we felt it was crucial to mark his legacy in fitting style, particularly in Liverpool, which will always be synonymous with Roy Castle. We are extremely grateful to the city council, business improvement district and other agencies for their support.
“November is lung cancer awareness month so we hope this initiative will help prompt people to be more aware of the symptoms of lung cancer – which include breathlessness, a persistent cough and unexplained weight loss – and visit their GP if they have any concerns.
“Survival rates are slowly improving but lung cancer continues to pose a threat to people from every walk of life, regardless of their age, lifestyle, medical background or smoking history and there is so much more that can still be done.”
Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Erica Kemp said: “I am delighted to be supporting this temporary name change in remembrance of Roy Castle.
“Roy was made a Freeman of the City of Liverpool 20 years ago for his tireless and selfless fundraising and this is a great way to honour his memory and raise awareness of the work that continues in his name.”
Professor Donnelly said: “Roy really loved Liverpool and Liverpool people, and they really loved him. It is very fitting that Castle Street, in the heart of Liverpool, should be re-named after him, if only for a few days.”
The move to re-sign Castle Street is part of the charity’s year-long Dedication campaign, which has included a social media contest known as Roy’s Records and the creation of a commemorative beer called Dedication Ale by Liverpool Organic Brewery.
For information and support about lung cancer or to make a donation, contact 0333 323 7200 or visit www.roycastle.org. You can also donate by texting ROYC20 £5 to 70070.