Original Roly Poly was larger than life

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TRIBUTES have been paid to a larger than life entertainer and one of the founder members of the world famous Roly Polys.

Ann Stephanie, one of the original line-up in the popular troupe, died last month in Trinity Hospice, aged 77.

She had entertained millions of people on the small screen and in venues across Blackpool, and had taught hundreds of young dancers how to tread the boards.

Now those who knew her have paid tribute to her professionalism, spirit and the joy she brought to so many.

Tracy Dawson, wife of late comedy great Les Dawson, first met Ann when she performed on The Les Dawson Show in the early 1980s.

She said: “I have some lovely memories of Ann.

“She was a lovely dancer and a beautiful looking woman.”

Miss Stephanie had trained at the School of Russian Ballet in London and went on to teach for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Italia Conti Stage School.

She later set up her own dance school in the Isle of Wight but gave it up when her dance and TV career took off in the 80s.

Mrs Dawson added: “She was a very talented lady, she was a working actress, travelling a lot doing plays.

“You could tell she was a thespian, very well spoken.”

Mrs Dawson said Miss Stephanie had also spent the last few Christmases bringing joy to youngsters in Lapland, playing Mother Christmas.

The funeral took place at Bridgwater, Somerset, followed by a burial.