Tributes as Doncaster Britain’s Got Talent Pensionalities singer dies
A Doncaster pensioner who became an overnight sensation in his 80s after appearing on Britain’s Got Talent has died.
Henry Hall wowed judges when he appeared on the ITV talent show two years ago with friend Malcolm Sykes as old-time crooning duo The Pensionalities.
Mr Hall, 86, died on April 28 and his funeral will take place later this month.
The pair reached the final of the 2017 series, finishing fifth behind eventual winner, pianist Tokio Myers.
Judges David Walliams, Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden gave the pair a standing ovation after they sang Frank Sinatra’s You Make Me Feel So Young, dressed in raincoats and flat caps on the talent contest show.
During their time on Britain’s Got Talent, the pair were forced to change their name from The Pensionaires to The Pensionalities because of a Canadian act with the same name.
The duo became stars, appearing on numerous TV shows and charming breakfast TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, with Henry kissing her hand during a television interview.
After growing up in coal-mining towns near each other, Mr Hall and Mr Sykes formed a singing duo, belting out classic hits for five years around Doncaster before appearing on the show.
After singing You Make Me Feel So Young at their audition — dressed in coats, scarves and flat caps – they were giving a standing ovation by the audience and Simon Cowell even compared them to show hosts Ant and Dec.
Both the men’s fathers were miners, and Henry's first job was at a motor cycle firm, which paid him just £1.50 a week.
He worked at Cusworth’s Motorcycles in Doncaster before becoming a singer and was known by customers as H.
He took over the company in the 1960s, and retired 44 years later.
Malcolm and Henry met through Probus, a worldwide network of businessmen and shared their love of singing at clubs across South Yorkshire.
For the 35 years before forming a duo with Henry, Malcolm hadn't been on stage, but grew his confidence again by performing at birthday parties and events before they auditioned for BGT.
An obituary for Mr Hall said: “In both life and death, Henry definitely did it ‘his way!’
“He died peacefully at home, as he wished, with his family.
“He lived an extraordinary life and was known to a great many people as H from Cusworth’s Motorcycles and latterly half of The Penisonalities from Britain’s Got Talent.
“He was loved by many, forgotten by none and will be greatly missed by all.”
The funeral service will be held at Rose Hill Crematorium, Doncaster on May 20 at 2.20pm, followed by refreshments at Rokeby Gardens, Kirk Sandall.
Mourners have been asked to wear light and bright colours and no black clothes at his funeral.