FOR many people, the most enduring memory of Roy Castle, was the genial host of BBC children’s show Record Breakers.

While presenting the series, he broke nine world records; from playing the same tune on 43 different instruments in four minutes, to recording the fastest ever tap dance, a record that still stands today.

Even in the last few months of his remarkable life before he succumbed to lung cancer, his 1,200-mile Tour of Hope — when it was clear that the 61-year-old musician, actor and presenter had little time left to fight the illness — attracted worldwide sympathy and support.

“It does surprise and amaze me that people remember Roy, but he was such an ordinary, humble man — not a celebrity in that sense at all — and he made a huge impression on everybody he met because he loved life,” said Roy’s widow Fiona.

“There’s a new generation who wouldn’t have a clue who he was, yet people constantly want to talk to me about Roy nearly 20 years after he died.

“People often bring pictures and letters that Roy had written to show me and, even though Record Breakers made him a huge star, he never changed.”

A gifted trumpeter, a doctor had told non-smoker Castle that his illness was probably caused by passive smoking during years of playing in jazz clubs.

“Roy was incredibly brave, the way he fought his illness with such courage and dignity in the public spotlight,” she added.

“He nearly died in Glasgow on the Tour Of Hope, and his nurse said to me that she didn’t think he would make it through the night, but he battled on.

“It gives me great comfort, as well as raising the profile of the illness that he was able to help so many people during his life.

“The fact that we have become smoke-free in public areas has made people aware of the health problems of smoking and Roy helped achieve that.”

Fiona, who will share how she coped with the loss of her life partner alongside some hilarious insights into Roy’s life at Clitheroe’s Grand Theatre next month, was introduced to Castle by comedian and friend Eric Morecambe.

“Eric was a lovely man, a very kind person. Like Roy, he was a true entertainer with incredible talent.”

When he started out, Castle lived in Cleveleys, turning professional as a stooge for Jimmy Clitheroe and Jimmy James.

After starring in the Royal Variety Show, he won television and film roles, including Dr Who and the Daleks and Carry on up the Khyber.

He even stood in for Bruce Forsyth on the Generation Game when Forsyth fell ill. In the 1970s Fiona added: “It’s drummed into us every day, these horrible celebrity programmes, makeover shows about our bodies, our clothes, our houses — everything isn’t it?

“The whole thing is very depressing and I don’t see any real talent on those shows. Roy worked for many years on the theatre circuit before getting a break, but what troubles me most is that people who haven’t really done that are getting recognition without the hard work first.

“It is like a marathon runner doing 10 minutes training a week and expecting to win the race.”

n An Evening with Fiona Castle, Clitheroe Grand Theatre,tomorrow. Details from 01200 421599.