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Twydall veteran to appear on Channel 4’s First Dates dressed as music hero Frank Sinatra

A veteran soldier has made his debut on national television by going on a blind date.

Frank Sinatra fan Ronald Brown, 91, ticked off one of his “to-do” wish-list by appearing on the hit matchmaking show First Dates where he chatted up Iris, who’s the same age.

Roland and Iris are appearing on a Valentines special of First Dates tonight (February 13). Photo: Channel 4Roland and Iris are appearing on a Valentines special of First Dates tonight (February 13). Photo: Channel 4
Roland and Iris are appearing on a Valentines special of First Dates tonight (February 13). Photo: Channel 4

The pensioner from Twydall, whose wife Louisa died 30 years ago, has always been a fan of the programme, now in its 10th year

And he confided in a friend that he’d like to have a go at trying his luck for perhaps a final fling at romance.

His mate, charity worker and author, Rocky Troiani contacted the team of the Channel 4 production and Ronald was invited to an audition in London.

The panel was impressed with his charms and musical talent and he was whisked off to a swanky restaurant in Bath where the current series was filmed.

Television personality, Fred Sirieix, the smooth-talking French maitre d’hotel, escorted Ronald to his table where he was joined by Iris.

Roland chats to First Dates host Fred Sirieix ahead of his date. Photo: Channel 4Roland chats to First Dates host Fred Sirieix ahead of his date. Photo: Channel 4
Roland chats to First Dates host Fred Sirieix ahead of his date. Photo: Channel 4

The Medway man wore a dapper jacket which Rocky had dug out back from the back of his wardrobe and had dry-cleaned.

The avid Frank Sinatra fan topped off the look with a trilby – a fitting accompaniment for his rendition of Old Blue Eyes classic, You Make Me Feel So Young.

Rocky said: “They were laughing together and at the end of it they were holding hands.

“They seemed to enjoy each other’s company. It was never going to be a long-term romance. They are both frail and live miles away from each other.

It was just a bit of fun for both of them.

But the couple have kept in touch over the phone since their summertime brief encounter when the show was recorded.

Ronald’s health has since deteriorated and he has spent a spell in hospital after a fall.

He said: “I’ve been watching the show for years. It was an interesting experience. She was a nice lady. I’m looking forward to watching it on television.”

Ronald Brown hit the headlines after being reunited his lost Army medals. Pictured with Gordon Moore (left) and Anthony Frith from the Staffordshire RegimentRonald Brown hit the headlines after being reunited his lost Army medals. Pictured with Gordon Moore (left) and Anthony Frith from the Staffordshire Regiment
Ronald Brown hit the headlines after being reunited his lost Army medals. Pictured with Gordon Moore (left) and Anthony Frith from the Staffordshire Regiment

Rocky, who lives in Luton Road, Chatham accompanied Ronald to the Botanist bar and restaurant in the Somerset town.

He said: ”My charitable organisation BEKS Bring Every Kind Smiles organised this wish with Channel 4.

“I’m so glad we did the show when we did as Ronald does struggle physically now after turning 91.

“I had to hold Ronald securely as he struggled to walk unassisted.

“Channel 4 was amazing. The producers the team the whole staff just was so welcoming and made Ronald feel at home.”

Ronald joined the East Surrey Regiment when he was 15 and travelled all over the world serving his country.

He left the Army after seven years and spent 37 years supporting the Territorial Army. He was a member of a military band for many years playing the clarinet and saxophone.

It’s the second time Rocky has done a good turn for Ronald.

At a chance meeting at a cafe, Ronald told him how he had mislaid his long service medals – and Rocky got in touch with his military contacts to present him with replacement badges of honour.

Ronald is still a keen karaoke singer and loves belting out Sinatra’s hits tunes.

He said: “I know most of the words to all of them, I start with That’s Life and end with My Way.

The show featuring Ronald and Iris goes out at 10 pm on Tuesday, February 13, on Channel 4.

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