“They broke the mould when Roy Gibson was made.

We met Roy when making a film to celebrate his love of playing the piano for Back to Ours. I felt that I’d found a friend as soon as we met, but I imagine many people had that experience when they met Roy, a former ship’s steward who knew how to make guests welcome by serving sandwiches with healthy side of acerbic wit.

I’ve worked a journalist for over twenty years, and every now and again someone comes along with a story that sparkles. Roy glittered. He was an openly gay man, who played the piano in drag on a ferry as it sailed into the Falklands conflict in 1982. He could have stayed home, but not Roy – he served his country at time when homosexuals and women weren’t welcome in the Forces. He adored his life and enjoyed reliving it by telling us all about it. I knew straight away that we’d want to make more than one film with Roy because he had so much to share. After completing two films about Roy’s love of playing the piano, I began talking to him about other possibilities. One idea was to make a film about his coming out story. Over the months we became friends and he would ring me for a chat, always ending the conversation with the words “God Bless”. 

Sadly our plans didn’t come to fruition. Roy died at his home in Nafferton at the beginning of June. It was a shock and so sad for anyone that knew and loved him, particularly his younger sister Jeanette who describes Roy as ‘her soul mate’.  

I felt glad that we took the decision to film everything he talked about because he was so interesting. We were able to cut together a short version of our planned film, ‘The May Queen’, where he tells the story of how he came out as a teenager. 

Roy ‘Wendy’ Gibson was a legend – God Bless you Roy and take it away. You really knew how to play and entertain.”

– Harriet Jones and Simon Higley

Watch The May Queen