Songwriter and composer Noel Gay awarded a Wakefield Star

Noel Gay getting married
Noel Gay getting married
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Internationally-renowned songwriter and composer Noel Gay has been awarded a Wakefield Star in recognition of his work and legacy.

Wakefield Council awarded the star in honour of the successful composer, who is best known for his popular melodies of the 1930s and 1940s.

Born in Outwood, under the name Reginald Moxon Armitage, Noel Gay became choirmaster and assisstant organist at Wakefield Cathedral at the tender age of 12.

He took up a music scholarship at the Royal College of Music in London, aged 15, and went on to study at Christ’s College, Cambridge, before taking the West End by storm with his musical revues.

He composed the music for the hit stage show Me and My Girl, which has been performed in 15 countries across the world and was even seen by King George VI.

Noel also wrote more than 30 popular hits including Leaning On A Lamppost and Run Rabbit Run’. It is thought that he tested his new tunes by imagining Yorkshire mill girls whistling them as they walked home from work.

On presenting the star, Wakefield Council leader Coun Peter Box said: “This will be a lasting and on-going celebration of his achievements.”

Noel’s grandson and chief executive of the Noel Gay Organisation, Alex Armitage, added that he and his family were thrilled about Noel’s recognition in Yorkshire.

Mr Armitage said: “We’re delighted that Noel has been recognised for his achievements in music and that he’ll be remembered in this way in the city he was born.

“All his life he was proud to be a Yorkshire man and proud of his Wakefield roots. He would be delighted that his mother-city has honoured him in this way.”

Noel’s Wakefield Star has been installed in the pavement on Westmorland Street in the city centre, along with the star of Wakefield born professional cyclist Barry Hoban, another recent recipient.

Noel died in 1954, aged 56, but his legacy lives on in the form of a successful showbusiness agency run by his family. The Noel Gay Organisation represents some of the UK’s leading broadcasters, journalists and presenters.