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Remembering Gately, town's panto star

PUBLISHED: 18:17 14 October 2009 | UPDATED: 09:06 12 August 2010

PERFORMER: Stephen with fellow panto stars Laura Hamilton and Shaun Williams, Butttons in the show. Photo: Andy Barnes.

PERFORMER: Stephen with fellow panto stars Laura Hamilton and Shaun Williams, Butttons in the show. Photo: Andy Barnes.

TRIBUTES have poured in for Boyzone singer Stephen Gately who died suddenly last weekend. The 33-year-old, who made his pantomime

TRIBUTES have poured in for Boyzone singer Stephen Gately who died suddenly last weekend.

The 33-year-old, who made his pantomime debut at The Churchill, was found dead, in kneeling position, by his partner Andy Cowles at their apartment in Port Andratx, Majorca last Sunday.

The singer died from respiratory failure caused by fluid on the lungs, a post mortem examination revealed on Tuesday but an investigation is to remain open pending the results of toxicology tests.

The post mortem concluded that drinking was not a factor following claims that the star had been out drinking at a club in Palma earlier that night.

Mr Gately, whose picture adorned the walls of thousands of teenage girls' bedrooms during the 1990s, played Dandini in The Churchill's performance of Cinderella in 2005.

The same year Gately thrilled fans in the town as his switched on Bromley's Christmas lights.

Shortly before he starred in the show, he spoke to the Times about how nervous he was. He said: "I'm always nervous and I hate first nights they are really terrible for me, because I criticise myself if I mess up and make mistakes. I really hammer myself about it. I've always been like that - if I mess up I really hit myself."

A spokesperson for The Churchill, Bromley, said: "We are saddened to learn about the death of Stephen Gately. Stephen made his pantomime debut at the Churchill in Cinderella in 2005 as Dandini and proved a great hit with our staff and audience.

"Performing in pantomime is a skill and is notoriously hard work and the director had been impressed with Stephen's commitment and willingness to take advice during the rehearsal process.

"Such was his commitment that he even offered and wrote a song for the production. Our thoughts are with his friends and family."

This year Gately leant his support to the Caudwell Children's charity appearing at a special sponsored ball to raise money in May this year, shortly after the Times' newspaper owners Archant joined the worthy cause.

The other four members of Boyzone, Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch traveled to the Balearic island to pay tribute to their close friend.

A statement released by them read: "We are completely devastated by the loss of our friend and brother, Stephen.

"We have shared such wonderful times together over the years and were all looking forward to sharing many more.

"Stephen was a beautiful person in both body and spirit. He lit up our lives and those of the many friends he had all over the world.

"Our love and sympathy go out to Andrew and Stephen's family. We love you and will miss you forever, 'Steo'." The band had been expecting to release another album in 2010.

kate.nelson@archant.co.uk

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