Bill Roache’s Charitable Work
In the early 1990s, Bill Roache became one of the first celebrities in the UK to recognise that hospice care is a gift-a gift of a comfortable, dignified, and timely passing-a quiet revolution in our thinking about death and dying. And he has used his fame in the best possible way-to raise both awareness and funds-a wonderful legacy that continues to this day.
Nishil Saujani, Head of Marketing and Communications, Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People, Loughborough, Leicestershire
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There is a new book just out entitled Reflections on the Times and Life of William ‘Bill’ Roache: Actor for the Ages. I have a close connection to this book and one of the book’s chapters because the authors invited me to comment on drafts to ensure balance and fairness.
In the chapter Belief and Spirituality: Knowledge with a Capital ‘K’ the main theme is the transition in British society from widespread formal religious affiliation to a much broader and richer spirituality. The authors convincingly argue that this is mirrored in the life of Bill. I particularly enjoyed the intriguing parallels between Bill’s time stationed as an British Army Captain in the Rub’ al Khali—or ‘Empty Quarter’ of the Arabian Desert (the largest sand desert in the world) and his many opportunities for long periods of what Bill calls ‘untutored meditation’ and then, as the authors write, ‘the not-so-distant echoes of another British Officer—Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence, CB, DSO (1888-1935)—‘Lawrence of Arabia’—and the mystical influence that the desert clearly had on both men’.
I have to say that the chapter on Spiritualty is more than fair in its treatment of ‘Stride for Truth’. And it ends in the most positive way imaginable by stating, ‘Bill’s beliefs are at least worthy of respect—if not serious investigation.’
The chapters on ‘Acting,’ ‘Fame’, ‘Education,’ ‘Law and Life Lessons,’ ‘Politics’ and ‘Life and Longevity’ are also wonderful reads.
Dr Rob Goodfellow
Dr Rob Goodfellow (BA Hons, PhD History) is an Adjunct Fellow and researcher with the Humanitarian and Development Research Initiative (HADRI), Western Sydney University. He lives in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.
Jonathan Copeland (LLB Hons) is a freelance photographer and writer who travels extensively searching for the ultimate photo opportunity. He lives mostly in Thailand, England and Bali.
Peter O’Neill OAM
Peter O’Neill OAM (BA Fine Arts) is an arts administrator, writer, and educator with over 40 years’ experience in the development and management of art museums and representative organisations within the cultural sector. He lives in Katoomba, The Blue Mountains, Australia.
For sisters Lottie and Jane Graham
Born in Kirkham (1884) and Salford (1886)
Verity and Will Roache and Rupert and Nicolas Pullee and Rob Goodfellow’s Lancashire great-grandmothers
– who lived to love Corrie
This is a must-read for any fan of Coronation Street, Ken Barlow, or Bill Roach. As an American who is a confirmed Anglophile, “Reflections” illuminated so many things! The descriptions of so many things made it easy to imagine I was right there. Bill Roache, the man, is a true inspiration for everyone. His propensity to remain relevant for all these years is something to which anyone could hope to emulate. Described in detail in the book, I would recommend it to all who aspire to aging gracefully.
Angus & Robertson
I just finished reading this really interesting new biography of Bill Roache of Ken Barlow fame. I loved the dedication in the front which hooked me in from the first page because I could see from the beginning that this is no ordinary celebrity biography. By the time I’d finished the last chapter I’d learnt as much about the world as I did about the man and about myself too. At first, I thought ‘times and life’ was a bit of an odd title, but I totally understand it now. This book is for everyone, especially Corrie fans of course, but really everyone. I loved Dame Joanna Lumley’s back page recommendation. I have no idea what it means but I just love it. These days Coronation Street is no longer free to air in Australia but a diehard fan like me will always find a way. Thanks Britbox!
William ‘Bill’ Roache OBE was named in the 2022 New Year’s Honours list for ‘Services to drama and charity’.