Headstone fund launched for Sidmouth ‘party animal’ Roger Holt

Roger 'Holtie' Holt and DJ Tony Prince with sackloads of Osmonds fan letters. Picture: Tony Prince

Roger 'Holtie' Holt and DJ Tony Prince with sackloads of Osmonds fan letters. Picture: Tony Prince - Credit: Tony Prince

A music industry legend who lived in Sidmouth for many years has died in relative obscurity – but now his friends and former colleagues are fundraising for a deserving memorial.

Roger Holt brought The Osmonds to England from the US in the 1970s when he was promotions manager for Polydor Records, and worked with many other big names of that era including Led Zeppelin, Slade, Boney M and Petula Clark.

‘Holtie’ had a house in Sidmouth and spent many years in the town, returning for regular visits after he went bankrupt and had to sell up.

But in more recent years he had been living in the village of St Mary Bourne near Andover, suffering from dementia.

He died there of lung cancer, aged 78, on July 16, and his long-standing Sidmouth friend Tom Griffiths was the only person at his funeral who knew about his past.

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There was not even enough money to buy a headstone for his grave – but Mr Griffiths has launched a crowdfunding appeal to buy one.

It smashed its £1,000 target in less than 24 hours and, with news of ‘Holtie’s death now being circulated to Osmonds fans around the world as well as friends from the music business, the response is expected to keep growing.

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The former Radio Luxembourg DJ, Tony Prince, was a good friend of ‘Holtie’ and has a treasured photo of the two of them – with himself in an armchair covered in a sackload of Osmonds fan mail, and Roger standing beside him laughing.

He is helping to spread the word of the gravestone fund, and said: “It could turn out to be a very large headstone for this beautiful man.”

Tom Griffiths said ‘Holtie’ would be remembered fondly by people who used to drink at The Blue Ball pub, and many others who knew him in Sidmouth.

He recalls staying with ‘Holtie’ in London several times, going to legendary 1970s nightspots such as Tramp, the Valbonne and the Speakeasy, and having dinner with Billy Connolly, Pamela Stephenson and Slade.

He said: “They were extraordinary nights; you never knew who you were going to meet there.

“Holtie was just a real party animal. His great saying was always ‘come on, party time’, and his tombstone will no doubt have those words written on it.”

You can donate to the crowdfunding campaign here.

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