Ilford’s “Blonde Bombshell” Kathy Kirby dies age 72

One of Ilford’s best loved singers has died aged 72.

Blonde bombshell Kathy Kirby, who came second in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965, grew up in Tomswood Hill, Barkingside and attended the Ursuline Convent School, where she sang in the choir.

After a shooting to fame with her hit single Secret Love she had a string of top ten hits before moving on to television work in the 1970s and 80s.

In a statement, her family said she died last night after a short illness. It added: “She will be greatly missed by her family and her many friends who have stood loyal over the years.”

Ms Kirby began her singing career at the Ilford Palais aged only 16, although her debut came far earlier when, aged three, she won a talent competition in an Ilford park.

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She retired from the show circuit in 1983, and until her death lived a reclusive life in Kensington, west London.

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