Tag Archives: rochdale

Francis House benefits from Rochdale ‘jam’ night

Warner Entertainments posted their thanks to Jimmy on Twitter

A children’s hospice in south Manchester benefited from Jimmy Cricket’s latest  ‘jam’ night in Rochdale.

The event, hosted by the famous Northern Irish entertainer and his wife May Marion every couple of months,  takes place in the lounge area of a local parish centre in his home town of Rochdale.

It started about a decade ago as an opportunity for Jimmy and other performers to try out new routines and is still going strong.

The famous entertainer has nicknamed those who come to regularly support these evenings as ‘Jimmy’s Jammers’.

At every event,  there is a raffle and the selling of refreshments, with all proceeds donated to a chosen charity.

Francis House Children’s Hospice, which is based in Didsburywas the beneficiary of the December jam night, which was also attended by Brian and Maxine Warner of Warner Entertainments.

Liz Dawn: Corrie star had ‘courage and a big heart’

Jimmy Cricket paid tribute in his Lancashire Evening Post column to Liz Dawn, who played Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street

Jimmy Cricket has paid a warm tribute to the late Liz Dawn in his  monthly newspaper column.

In the Lancashire Evening Post, Jimmy said Liz, who played Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street for more than 30 years, was “a great actress with a big heart who had the common touch”.

The soap legend died aged 77 in September following a long battle with emphysema, a disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath.

“It was when she landed the role of a factory worker in Coronation Street that Liz came to everyone’s attention,” recalled famous Northern Irish comedian Jimmy, 72.

“Her natural acting ability won the hearts of viewers and her on-screen relationship with Bill Tarmey as the bickering husband and wife Jack and Vera Duckworth captivated the nation.

“She raised incredible amounts of money for such worthy causes as the Manchester Children’s Hospital, the Genesis Appeal, and the Liz Dawn Cancer Appeal, and was awarded the MBE in the 2000 Queen’s Birthday Honours for her extraordinary fund-raising achievements.”

Jimmy said he first met Leeds-born Liz while working on the QE2, adding she was a  “huge hit”, with large audiences attending her ‘An Audience With Show’ where she talked about her life.

“At the height of her success on Corrie, she did a ‘Christmas Special’ from her home, and I played a postman who delivered her Christmas cards,” reminisced Jimmy.

Liz Dawn (who played Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street) talks to Frankie's friend Liz Creagh after the service. Liz was at both the ordination and the First Mass and Frankie was really thrilled she came to both events











“However, it was my son who formed a strong friendship with Liz and her husband, Don.

“When our Frank was training for the priesthood, he politely enquired if Liz could put in an appearance at a fund-raising concert which would help to send some young people to Lourdes.

“Without hesitation, Liz not only turned up to that event but became a regular guest artiste at these shows.

“Our Frank, who was a stand-up comedian before he took up his vocation, would introduce Liz and together they would do a hilarious question-and answer-session.

“They both struck up such a rapport that when when Frank was ordained a priest [in 2013], Liz not only turned up at his ordination in Salford Cathedral but at his very first Mass in St Vincent’s Catholic Church in Rochdale [picture above].

“It took great courage and bravery, for by that time emphysema had taken its toll, but there she was… still laughing and joking with her fans after the service and always with her beloved Don pushing her wheelchair.”

Jimmy added: “I was so proud to be at her Requiem Mass at Salford Cathedral where Father Frankie was a concelebrant.

“Liz, you went from rags to riches and gave so much enjoyment and happiness along the way.”

Performing alongside The Chase’s Mark Labbett in Dick Whittington panto


Jimmy Cricket retweeted a social media post about the press launch of the panto in which he will be appearing over the 2017 festive season.

The famous Northern Irish entertainer will be playing Professor Fitzwarren in that old favourite Dick Whittington in both Ellesmere Port and his adopted hometown of Rochdale.

The details for both pantos are below:

Dick Whittington panto details

The panto will also feature The Chase’s Mark Labbett (also known as The Beast and can be seen in the middle of the photo at the top of the page), who will play King Rat.

Ellesmere Port Civic Centre will stage the show from 16 to 20 December and Rochdale’s Gracie Fields Theatre from 22-31 December.

Jimmy’s retweet on the press launch is below:

The tweet about Dick Whittington

Ex-Corrie actress takes part in Rochdale show

Jimmy Cricket

A former Coronation Street actress was among the performers in a parish centre show hosted by much-loved entertainer Jimmy Cricket.

Sue Devaney (below right) has played various roles on British television, including Debbie Webster in Corrie, Rita Briggs in Jonny Briggs, Liz Harker in Casualty and Jane in Dinnerladies.

Local, national and sometimes international entertainers perform for nothing at the monthly event, which takes place at St Vincent’s RC Parish Centre in Norden, Rochdale.

Sue Devaney

Also on the bill was singer John from J & D Alexander Jewellers in the Greater Manchester town of Rochdale, where Belfast-born Jimmy has lived for many years.

A collection is made for a charitable cause usually decided on the jam night, with the Sudden Community Centre, based on Cheltenham Street in Rochdale, the beneficiary on this occasion.

The centre has been established in the community through various forms since August 1991.

Since its inception, it has helped thousands of local residents empower themselves to a more dignified and fulfilling life through many of the programmes offered there.

Their mission is for local residents to be members of a vibrant and sustainable community who manage and control their future through the improvement of their own living and working environment.

Emphasis is on empowerment through education, enterprise, and lifelong learning and training opportunities for all.

The centre delivers community-based training and support for local residents, particularly those who are hard to reach and face barriers to accessing information, advice and guidance and progression to employment, training and education.

LEP column: Here’s to the king of comedy writers

Jimmy Cricket's Lancashire Evening Post columnJimmy Cricket remembers legendary comedy writer and close friend, the late Eddie Braben, in one of his recent newspaper columns.

Edwin ‘Eddie’ Charles Braben was best known for providing material for Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. He also worked for David FrostRonnie Corbett and Ken Dodd.

He was credited with changing the profile of Morecambe and Wise, helping to turn them into one of the most popular and enduring comedy acts in the history of British entertainment.

Belfast-born entertainer Jimmy, who has lived in Rochdale for many years, recalls in the Lancashire Post how Eddie started out as a market trader, selling fruit and veg from a stall in Liverpool’s St John precinct. In his spare time, he made up jokes.

Jimmy says how nervous he was when he first met Eddie, adding: “That was the start of a beautiful friendship that spanned two TV series, five radio series and even a book of letters from my Mammy.”

Northern Irish comedian Jimmy developed a lasting friendship with Eddie who sadly died aged 82 in May 2013. Below is a newspaper article in which Jimmy paid tribute to his old pal at the time.

Jimmy Cricket pays tribute to Eddie Braben in the Rochdale Observer

Helping keep Rochdale Carers Choir on the road!

Rochdale Carers Choir

More than £200 was raised for a worthy charity at Jimmy Cricket’s recent jam night in Rochdale.

Local, national and sometimes international entertainers perform for nothing at the monthly event, which takes place at St Vincent’s RC Parish Centre in the Norden area of the Greater Manchester town.

Among the musicians at the latest jam evening in early July were the Rochdale Carers Choir (members of which are pictured above with Jimmy and below), Keith Swift, Liz Creagh and Nathan Birks.

Famous entertainer Jimmy, 71, said: “The money raised by our generous audience on the night went towards keeping the Carers Choir on the road!”

The choir was set up by carers at the resource centre in Rochdale in June 2012 and is going from strength to strength, with a membership of more than 30 led by choirmaster Philip Reynolds.
Members of Rochdale Carers Choir

Proud family occasion at Rochdale Catholic church


Helping Rochdale priest celebrate diamond jubilee

Jimmy Cricket, Fr David O'Kane and friendsJimmy Cricket was honoured to be the guest entertainer at a celebratory dinner organised to mark one of his local clergy celebrating 60 years of being a Catholic priest.

On what was a great evening at the Sacred Heart Parish Hall in Rochdale, Fr David O’Kane hosted a dinner to celebrate his diamond Jubilee milestone.

Fr David O'Kane is the parish priest at Sacred Heart in Rochdale

Fr O’Kane has been based at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church for over a couple of decades. During this time he has hosted some charity dinners and concerts which have featured famous comedian Jimmy.

Sacred Heart was in fact one of Jimmy’s former parishes when he first moved into his adopted home town of Rochdale.

This diamond jubilee event was a wonderful occasion with the hall full of parishioners and friends of Fr O’Kane (pictured above).

The second part of Fr O’Kane’s celebration will be a special diamond jubilee Mass to be held at Sacred Heart RC Church on Friday 16 June.

Jimmy and his wife, May, have also been invited to attend this service and, as he has no work commitments on this date,  he is delighted he can attend this occasion as well!

Sacred Heart in Rochdale

The Scattering play on ‘Jimmy’s Jammers’ night

Audience at Jimmy Cricket's night of entertainment

Jimmy Cricket was delighted local Gaelic rock outfit The Scattering were able to join him at his latest ‘jam’ night in Rochdale.

What started several years ago as an opportunity for Jimmy and other performers to try out new routines continues with much success as he still hosts these evenings every other month in the lounge area of a local parish centre in his home town of Rochdale.

The famous entertainer has nicknamed those who come to regularly support these evenings as ‘Jimmy’s Jammers’!

Every time the 71-year-old comedian hosts these get-togethers there is a raffle and the selling of refreshments, with all proceeds donated to a chosen charity. The Rochdale And District Blind Welfare Society was the cause to benefit from the latest event in March.

Band The Scattering

Jimmy tries to structure these evenings in a way which not only gives him the chance to try out new sketches and songs – the reason he started organising them in the first place – but he also ensures there are a number of other talented entertainers performing.

As the March night was a week or so before St Patrick’s Day, he invited The Scattering (above) to join him as he knows the band’s lead singer, Andy Kelly.

Said Jimmy: “The band played an instrumental set during the first half, but Andy was able to front the band in the second half when they performed classic Irish singalongs which went down a treat with all those present.”

The next ‘Jimmy’s jammers’ night at St Vincent’s Parish Centre in Rochdale is scheduled for Wednesday 3 May, starting at 7.30pm.

Jimmy Cricket and fellow performers

Rochdale charity gala to Birmingham bingo club

Mayor of Rochdale's charity gala

Jimmy Cricket was given a fabulous reception at two shows during the last weekend of January.

On the Friday, the 71-year-old popular entertainer was invited to perform at the Mayor of Rochdale’s charity gala at the Heywood Civic Centre.

The event was organised by his friend of many years, Cllr Peter Rush. Appearing alongside Jimmy was John Stokes’ Bachelors, comedian Dusty Young (who compered the proceedings), and the band Carnaby Street.

Jimmy Cricket performing at the Mayor of Rochdale's charity gala at the Heywood Civic Centre
Jimmy at the gala

It was staged in the presence of this year’s Mayor of Rochdale – Cllr Ray Dutton. All the proceeds from this special night of entertainment went to local Rochdale and Heywood Charities that are supported by this year’s Mayor.

The next night, Rochdale-based comedian Jimmy was down in Birmingham where he appeared at the BJ’s Bingo club (poster for the event is below) in the Kitts Green district of the city.

This was the second BJ’s Bingo club Jimmy had visited in six months,  as he was at their venue in Leigh last October.

Many thanks must go to the Birmingham general manager David Cooksley for arranging Jimmy’s visit.

BJ’s Bingo club