ONE of the best known characters on the entertainment scene in Bournemouth and Poole has died.

Tony Hardman was publicity boss for the Bournemouth International Centre and Pavilion and also worked for the Poole Arts Centre.

The professional actor boasted stints on top soaps Coronation Street and Emmer-dale among his many TV appearances.

But his greatest love was the theatre where he met many famous faces.

Mr Hardman, who was 73, lived on Bournemouth’s West Cliff and the walls of his home were adorned with pictures of famous people he had met, including Sir Cliff Richard and snooker star Alex Higgins.

Bournemouth Echo:

He fought long and hard in a bid to save the Winter Gardens in Bournemouth and also put his name to a campaign to keep the Pier Theatre.

He was a close friend of award-winning actress Dora Bryan OBE and organised a star-studded tribute show after she moved into a nursing home suffering from dementia.

Ian Goode, theatre and event manager at Bourne-mouth Pier, knew Mr Hardman for 30 years.

He said: “When I was general manager at the Man-chester Hotel Tony managed to get Jimmy Tarbuck to open our swimming pool – he knew a lot of people.

“He did a lot for Bournemouth and he was always working, even when he was supposed to be off.”

Councillor John Beesley, Leader of the Council, said: “Tony was responsible for entertainment at the Pavilion and BIC for many years and was a highly valued member of Council staff.

“He showed a great deal of commitment and passion in his role and he contributed greatly to the entertainment and events scene in Bournemouth.”