Entertainer and founder of Theatre Guild in Glasgow

Born: June 13, 1928;

Died: July 19, 2019

Billy Love – former employee at the famous Singer factory in Clydebank who has died aged 91 – was a consummate singer and dancer and lover of musicals. With little or no formal training he entertained neighbours with hits from popular musicals and went on to be a founder member of the Theatre Guild - Amateur Musicals (now called Theatre Guild Glasgow) in 1960.

While Billy was a boy the Love family, like many Scots during the twenties and thirties, emigrated to Canada. That was in 1928 but just a few years later the family were back in their beloved home town, just in time however to have to endure the bombings of the German air raids. For a spell Billy was evacuated to Kirkintilloch – a move that for young Billy turned out to be a bonus as he was able to develop his singing talent in the well established Kirkintilloch choir.

The day job was initially as an office boy at the Singer factory which then employed 10,000 workers. A naturally creative and artistic person he gravitated towards departmental store window dressing initially at Bow's – a High Street department store in Glasgow. He progressed to become display manager with the Co-operative's department store – a post he held until his retirement at the age of 65.

A neat slim man just 5 ft 8 ins tall he was light on his feet. Fond of Highland dancing he could also skip and swerve along to any of the popular songs of the time, often from the musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein and of Irving Berlin.

He became a founder member of the Theatre Guild-Amateur Musicals in Glasgow in 1960 and was soon the Guild's producer and choreographer, positions he held for three decades. His first production was South Pacific and how he loved bringing its now iconic songs and dances to the stage of Glasgow's Pavilion Theatre.

The Guild brought top notch amateur productions to the stage but towards the end of the 80s it hit financial problems losing money on each of its productions, not helped by a hike in the costs of hiring the King's Theatre then owned by Glasgow Council. In 1993 a new committee was formed to find a way forward. Billy was, of course, on that committee. It agreed to a move to a smaller venue and to stabilising finances through the creation of a limited company.

But still the Guild lost money on its next production and went into the red for the first time in its 34 year history. Billy found the solution. He conceived 'Singing Our Songs" persuading past principals of Theatre Guild shows to perform in three shows that raised nearly £3000 - money which put the Guild back on its feet. In 2006 it changed its name to Theatre Guild Glasgow removing any notions that amateur meant second rate.

In his spare time Billy was a regular theatre goer. He kept up with the best of musical productions by attending shows in London and in New York. He taught at the National Operatic and Dramatic Association's Summer School, sharing his expertise in production, direction and choreography.

Guys and Dolls was Billy's last show with the Guild as director and choreographer in 1996 when he was aged 68. In 2000, Billy presented the Guild with a commemorative silver plate known as the Billy Love Award now presented on an annual basis to a member who has excelled in their services to the Guild.

In his his later years Billy was able to spend time developing his other talent - that of Art, becoming a stalwart of Faifley Art Group in Clydebank.

He was diagnosed with dementia in 2013 and moved into Erskine Park Nursing Home in February 2015.

Billy never married but he was never short of friends made through his musical activities. He was survived by his sister Isobel and his niece Elaine.