GLOWING tributes have been paid to a stalwart of amateur dramatics in Keighley who has died aged 93.

Robert Lister was a life member of both Keighley Playhouse and Keighley Musical Theatre Company, formerly the Amateurs.

Over the years he performed in countless productions, including plays, pantomimes and musicals.

The many characters he portrayed ranged from The Old Gentleman in The Railway Children to Marley's ghost in A Christmas Carol.

Mr Lister died at The Gables Nursing Home in Silsden, where he had been a resident for nearly two years.

"He always had a passion for amateur dramatics," says his daughters, Claire and Karen.

"We believe he touched many hearts in the theatre. He was a wizard at lines, word perfect every time!

"Although latterly not active on stage, he was always supportive of the societies that were so close to his heart.

"He lived life to the full, was very contented and was fortunate to have been happily married to our dear late mum Betty for 64 years. He was an inspiration to us all in how he coped these past five-and-a-half years after losing mum.

"And he amazed us how he battled through after a serious road accident nearly four years ago, when he was knocked down in Keighley town centre on his way to the playhouse, sustaining serious head and leg injuries.

"He was a real grafter too, only retiring at the ripe old age of 82 from North Yorkshire Council, where he worked as a carer at Neville House Care Home in Gargrave. He drove up there each day, starting work at 7am, and was never late once! He loved that job and had a wonderful rapport with the elderly residents, as he was a similar age to many of them!

"We were very proud to call him our dad. He was a dear friend to many, always kind and loyal and interested in their lives. He was our rock and the best possible husband, dad, grandad and great grandad we could have all wished for and our lives have been blessed by his presence."

Keighley Playhouse said Mr Lister was "one of our most popular and prolific performers for over 40 years".

A spokesperson added: "Robert was universally recognised as a true gentleman by everyone who knew him.

"He was a keen advocate of younger members, always praising and encouraging their effort.

"His good nature and companionship will be sadly missed by all who knew him at Keighley Playhouse."

Tribute is also paid by Louise Hindle Barton, chair of Keighley Musical Theatre Company.

She says: "Next year will be my 60th as a member of Keighley Musical Theatre Company, where I had the pleasure of appearing in many shows and pantomimes with Robert. He was a true stalwart and dedicated member of the society.

"Whether he was playing King Rat in the pantomime, a role I know he particularly loved playing, or as a dancer or chorus member, Robert gave his all. His attention to detail was legendary and his support of the society was demonstrated by the number of tickets he used to sell.

"Off-stage Robert was highly spoken of by all who knew him. He was a loyal and loving friend to all and will be greatly missed."

The funeral service takes place at Oakworth Crematorium on Thursday (October 12), at 11.30am.