Sad farewell to legendary window cleaner 'devoted to his job rain or shine' for 50 years

Tributes have been paid to a well respected window cleaner of 50 years who stayed devoted to his job rain or shine and ‘always had a smile for everyone’.

Roy Newsham passed away peacefully from lung cancer at his home in Accrington on April 15, aged 78, with his long-term partner, Sheila Proctor, by his side. He built a reputation of being Accrington town centre’s premier window cleaner for 50 years.

Roy left the windows of many shops and banks pristine and sparkling, including Yorkshire Bank, Halifax, Old Bailey’s Bar and Nightclub and Swinton Insurance. His son, Gary, said: “He was a really nice guy and friendly with everyone he met.


“He always had a smile for everyone. Everyone appreciated everything he did for them. He was cleaning windows rain or shine.

“There is a running joke in the family. You didn’t look for my dad, you looked for his window cleaning tools to find him.

“His sister, Gail, would put a note on his ladder asking where he was.”

The self-employed window cleaner was diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago and bravely battled the illness while receiving treatment until no more could be done for him by Christmas. Roy was born to parents Becky and Arthur and he was raised in Accrington with his siblings Gail, Adele and Mark.

He was one of the first lot of students who were accepted into St Christopher’s High School when it first opened. His father was also a self-employed window cleaner in Accrington town centre for around 20 years.

Roy initially trained to be a baker at Redman’s Bakery in Accrington but he decided it was not something he wanted to pursue and began window cleaning. Every second person would stop him in the street to ask how he was, and if he wasn’t anywhere to be found, he would be in the many cafes in the area sipping on a hot drink.

Roy and his partner of 33 years, Sheila, enjoyed going on trips to Blackpool, Keswick in the Lake District and having car rides up to the Yorkshire Dales. He was a member of Poplar Working Men’s Club in Accrington for 60 years and played many snooker competitions. He was also captain of the snooker team for 30 years.

Roy and his father won the CIU individual knockout as a snooker player at the Poplar Working Men’s Club. Gary says it was the first time father and son had both won the same title.

Roy’s friends and family took part in a 24 hour sponsored snooker event, raising money to help those with leukaemia after losing his daughter Lindsey to the illness in 1986.

Roy was also well known at the Working Men’s Club in Oswaldtwistle.