Richard Henry Simpson Stilgoe was born in Camberley on 23 March 1943. His family moved to Liverpool, his father being the city’s Chief Engineer, and he grew up here, living firstly at 5 St Anne’s Road, Aigburth L17, then at 497 Aigburth Road L17. He attended the Liverpool College from 1949 to 1959 and whilst there he formed a band called Tony Snow and the Blizzards, deriving from the well-known Liverpool group Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. One of the band members was fellow Liverpool College student Bernard Falk who would go on to some fame as a BBC reporter. Some sources suggest they appeared at the Cavern but Stilgoe himself pours cold water on the notion. He does, however, claim to have come second to the Quarrymen in a talent competition.
He spent a year at Clare College, Cambridge before abandoning the academic world to pursue a career in show business.
He came to national prominence as a writer and performer of comic songs on the BBC’s Nationwide and That’s Life. The range of his entertainment career is vast, the peak, at least in public impact being the writing of lyrics for highly successful musicals including Starlight Express and The Phantom of the Opera. Similarly his charitable work is prodigious and generous with a number of causes benefitting from his donating to them the royalties from his most successful works. He founded the Orpheus Trust in 1998, in a former family home in Godstone, Surrey, offering performing arts experiences to young people with disabilities. He was knighted in the 2012 Birthday Honours for charitable services. He has also found time to be President of Surrey County Cricket Club, President of the Lords Taverners, High Sherriff of Surrey and a Deputy Lieutenant of the county.
A lifelong cricket enthusiast Stilgoe would have appreciated living within sight of Liverpool Cricket Club.
© Liverpool Footprints