ONE of Newport’s most well-known characters, busker Francis ‘Frankie’ Lodge, has died aged 90.

Mr Lodge was famous for entertaining shoppers with his street-singing performances in an arcade near the city’s John Frost Square.

He died at Stow Park Nursing Home on July 12.

Mr Lodge was much-loved by many people, but his decades of whole-hearted performances did not always go down well with the public or workers in nearby offices.

In 1988, the police charged him with committing a nuisance and obstructing the highway, after complaints from staff in companies in and around the square.

At the time, several workers told the Argus Mr Lodge’s singing was “a pain in the backside” and “a real nuisance”, but luckily for Mr Lodge and the 80,000 followers he claimed to have, some fans in high places were able to save his career.

Officers from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), who admitted they enjoyed Mr Lodge’s singing, stepped in and quashed the charges.

At the time, CPS officer David Coleman, who intervened in the case, told the Argus: “Our offices above British Home Stores are next to the arcade and we hear Mr Lodge all day.

“We did not consider him such a nuisance.

“We intervened, as is our right, and told police we did not think it worth proceeding with.”

The CPS later presented Mr Lodge – who was famous for not knowing the lyrics to his songs – with a book of songs from the 1930s.

At the time, senior crown prosecutor Ian Griffiths said: “Apparently this should suit his style.

“Frankie, by his own admission, does not know all the words to the old favourites and we felt it was an ideal way to show that we are human as well – not just the faceless body that people think.”

Mr Lodge’s continued to have fans right up until his death, with many people taking to social media to express their sadness at the news, as well as exchanging fond memories of his street concerts.

Mr Lodge’s funeral is planned for August 10 at St Mary’s Church, Newport, at 12.30pm, followed by a cremation at Langstone Vale Crematorium at 2.30pm, but these plans are not finalised.