Late vicar taught The Who's Roger Daltry to use sign language

Canon Raymond Grant

Roger Daltry promoting Tommy

First published in Search Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by

HIS skills played a major role in an iconic Sixties rock opera.

A former Hampshire vicar, who taught sign language to The Who singer Roger Daltry, has died at the age of 96.

Movie chiefs called in Canon Raymond Young to teach sign language to Daltry who was the star of Tommy.

Released in 1969, it was the first musical work to be billed as a rock opera. It told the story of a "deaf, dumb and blind kid", who became a master pinball player.

T he controversial film version was directed by Southampton-born maverick auteur Ken Russell.

Several of Canon Young's services for the deaf were broadcast on television and he made some early TV appearances from the legendary Alexandra Palace studios.

It was during missionary work that he cultivated his sign language skills. In 1934/35 he went to Palestine as an assistant at the School for Deaf Children in Jerusalem. This was to be the start of a lifetime of service to the deaf. Born in Sheffield and brought up in Norwich, he was to spend most of his ministry in Hampshire with deaf, hard of hearing and deaf blind people.

In February 1946 he moved south following his appointment as chaplain to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Deaf and Dumb Association in Southampton to work in the dioceses of Winchester and Portsmouth.

He lived in Bitterne for the next 13 years. Regular services for the deaf were held in Southampton, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Basingstoke and the Isle of Wight, and in the Channel Islands, all conducted in sign language.

In 1959 Canon Yong became Vicar of the Parish of St John the Apostle, Marchwood but kept his role as chaplain to the deaf on a part time basis.

He also became chaplain to the Royal Engineers based at Marchwood.

In 1981 he retired and moved to Chandler's Ford.

He was awarded an MBE in 1982 for his ministry to the deaf. He was father to five children, 13 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

A private cremation will be held at Basingstoke on Monday July 7 followed by a memorial requiem mass at Winchester Cathedral at 1pm to which all are welcome.

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