Cyril Partridge was a friend of Alec Gilroy's from the old days.
In 1989, when Rita Fairclough was missing from Weatherfield, she turned up at the Cyril-managed The Strand Hotel in Blackpool. Cyril didn't know anything was amiss and rang the Rovers only to confirm that "Rita Littlewood" was an act on Alec's books, as she'd been pestering him to give her a slot in the hotel's piano bar. Relieved that her friend was alive, Bet Gilroy told Alec to make sure Cyril booked Rita so that they could intercept her there. Alec was inclined not to do so, thinking about his reputation should Rita bomb, but grudgingly gave Cyril the necessary assurances and left for Blackpool with his wife.
In fact, Rita went down very well, and Cyril was full of compliments when Alec and Bet turned up. Alec kept up the pretext of being in Blackpool as he had a few acts to check in on, as Rita was a missing person and Bet didn't want to call the police due to her mental state. However, when Alec returned to Weatherfield and rang the police, Bet presumably told Cyril the truth as he was on hand when Det. Sgt. Crichton and Det. Insp. Jordan arrived at the hotel to speak to Rita, who had since gone missing again. Seeing how tired Bet was, Cyril suggested that she sleep in Rita's room as it would save Alec worrying about the bill.
A few hours later, Alan Bradley arrived at the hotel, also searching for Rita. Annoyed at finding Bet there instead, Alan threatened her and stormed past a hapless Cyril on his way out. Alan was hit and killed by a tram on the promenade just minutes later.