Fratton man continued to entertain in his wheelchair in 1993

Norman Empire warms up his special act at home in Fratton.
Norman Empire warms up his special act at home in Fratton.

Norman Empire was still entertaining old folk with his songs – despite being disabled. 

The 69-year-old from Fratton travelled round old people’s homes in his electric wheelchair to sing the old favourites for which he was widely known. 

And despite being able to manage only a much shorter set than in times gone past, he was still keen to carry on entertaining. 

He said: ‘I am determined to satisfy myself that I can still entertain, although I can only do about 20 minutes now. Entertainment is something which is embedded in my mind.’ 

Norman, who suffered from arthritis and heart problems, spent years bringing cheer to people’s lives with his own brand of music and song.

In the 1960s, he established the Happy Volunteers who toured the country entertaining at old folks’ homes. His favourite act was to sing old songs, dressed in his pearly suit, with his large antique gramophone that was his trademark. 

Norman added: ‘I still go round to prove to myself that I can still entertain.’