Fans and friends to mark one-year-anniversary of death of Ilford-born 60s star Kathy Kirby

Fans and friends of Ilford-born 1960s star Kathy Kirby will post memories, songs and tributes on a website this Sunday to mark the one-year anniversary of her death.

Kathy, who became a household name with chart hits including Secret Love, died on May 20 aged 72 following a short illness and a close friend hopes she will now gain wider recognition.

Sandra Hough, 62, got to know the variety show performer as she reached the height of her fame in the mid-1960s.

The pair fell out of contact before rekindling their friendship three years ago.

Mrs Hough, of Wigan, will lead online tributes on and on a RememberingKathyKirby Facebook group.

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She also plans to hold a two minute’s silence.

She said: “We were very close.

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“We’re going to pack Sunday full of memories, tributes from fans, a song from myself, and do as much as we can.”

Kathy grew up in Tomswood Hill, Barkingside, and attended SS Peter and Paul’s Catholic Primary School in Gordon Road, Ilford.

After a short spell working as a telephonist at the Ilford Recorder while a teenager, her singing career took off.

Often compared to Marilyn Monroe for her blonde bombshell looks, she was named the top British female singer by the New Musical Express in 1963.

And she came second in the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest with I Belong.

Sandra said: “She was very giggly and good fun.

“She had a marvellous sense of humour and the world was her oyster.”

She led a troubled later life though, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Sandra wants a memorial concert in Kathy’s name to be held and to see a plaque placed at her final home in south Kensington.

Mrs Hough said: “If only in the little garden she looked over.

“She loved that garden.”

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