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D-Day landings: Many heroes included Paddy the pigeon 150 150 mhamer

D-Day landings: Many heroes included Paddy the pigeon

Next month (June) sees the celebrations for the D-Day landings.

Next month sees the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings – and Jimmy Cricket marks the occasion in his latest newspaper column.

The Normandy landings were the land and associated airborne operations which took place on 6 June 1944.

Codenamed Operation Neptune and widely referred to as D-Day, it involved the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II –  the largest seaborne invasion in history.

It commenced the liberation of France, and also the rest of Western Europe, and laid the foundations for the Allied victory on the Western Front.

Writing in the Blackpool Gazette and the Lancashire Evening Post, comedian Jimmy says: “As next month (June) sees the celebrations for the D-Day landings which took place 80 years ago, I always pause to think about the many entertainers who helped to boost the morale of our fighting troops.

Beautiful voice

My friend the late Frank Carson, who served in the forces himself, used to joke: ‘One day I saved the lives of 200 men – I shot the cook!’.

Then, of course, there was the Force’s Sweetheart the late great Vera Lynn.

[Vera Lynn’s songs helped raise morale duringWorld War Two. People knew her best for her wartime anthem We’ll Meet Again. She died aged 103 in 2020.

She was just a young girl vocalist back then and the only time she’d been out of the country was when she travelled to Holland to do a gig with a dance band.

However, she had a yearning to do her bit, and before she knew it, she was touring the swamps of the Borneo jungle in the sweltering heat, giving young soldiers a taste of home with her beautiful voice and melodic songs.

Feathered friend

A lot of the time she performed on the back of army trucks.

You know readers, this may sound funny but I always think of Vera’s pianist and accompanist Len Edwards, who always went with her and who risked life and limb to provide her musical backing.

He truly was an unsung hero.

Which leads me on to mention another hero from the Second World War, in this case a silent one.

His name was Paddy, and on the day of the D-day landings, he flew back all the way from Normandy in record time to provide valuable information that reassured everyone at home, that everything was going to plan and that our soldiers had made a successful landing.

The reason he did this without saying a word?

Paddy was a carrier pigeon and his coded message was tagged on to his foot.

Quiet thanks

But what made Paddy even more special was this…

… Of all the pigeon’s released from Normandy that day, he was the last one to make the journey and, guess what, he was the first one back to Hampshire.

But there’s more readers, come closer, what made his feat all the more remarkable was that not only did he have to contend with open-air fire, but the Nazis had placed specially trained hawks along the way to ambush him.

However, our feathered friend thwarted all their efforts and made it home safe and sound.

He did it in an astonishing four hours and 50 minutes, which became the fastest record by a message-carrier pigeon during the Normandy landings.

Paddy was honoured for his heroic achievements by being awarded the Dicken Medal on September the 1st, 1944.

The medal is given for gallantry or devotion to duty while serving in military conflict and is often known as the animal’s Victoria Cross.

He eventually returned to the place of his birth – Carnlough, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland, to be with his owner – Andrew Hughes.

He lived until 1954, dying at the age of 11.

In 2019 a plaque was unveiled in his honour in Car lough harbour.

So readers, if you ever cross the Irish Sea and take a trip along the Antrim coastline to drink in the beautiful scenery, make sure you stop off at Carnlough Harbour and pay a visit to Paddy’s plaque and give a quiet thanks for a silent hero.”

Also read: LEP column paid tribute to the ‘wonderful’ Vera Lynn

Katie Mulgrew on how she used to heckle Ken Dodd! 150 150 mhamer

Katie Mulgrew on how she used to heckle Ken Dodd!

Katie Mulgrew, stand-up comedian and Jimmy Cricket's daughter, has been chatting about what it was like growing up with a famous father.

Katie Mulgrew, stand-up comedian and Jimmy Cricket’s daughter, has been chatting about what it was like growing up with a famous father.

Also a playwright and actor, Katie was talking to podcast presenter Richard Herring at the Lowry Theatre.

The last time Richard was at the Salford venue, several years ago, he interviewed Jimmy, along with another comedian, Sarah Millican.

In her conversation earlier this week, Katie talked – among many things – about the horrors of birth, and partying with comedy double act Little and Large and the dance troup Roly Polys.

She also recalls how she used to heckle famous funnyman Ken Dodd, a good friend of her dad’s!

RHLSTP is an award-winning series in which Richard talks to some of the biggest names in comedy and entertainment.

They have included Stephen Fry, Eddie Izzard, Dawn French, David Mitchell, Katherine Ryan and Brian Blessed.

After Wednesday’s show, Richard posted on social media: “RHLSTP with the fabulous Katie Mulgrew…

” …with some amazing stories including this one about growing up with a famous comedian dad!

[Listen to a short clip from the programme here].

“… coming back to the Lowry soon and loads of other places! richardherring.com/ballback/tour.”

The full hour-long show is here.

Katie has appeared on Coronation Street and is also an award-winning writer.

Also read: Katie Mulgrew appears in Coronation Street shows

 

Tribute show in memory of the late, great Roy Hudd 150 150 mhamer

Tribute show in memory of the late, great Roy Hudd

Roy Hudd

Jimmy Cricket is among the performers taking to the stage in memory of the late Roy Hudd OBE.

Roy was an actor, comedian radio host, author and authority on the history of music hall entertainment.

He died in 2020 at the age of 83 after a short illness.

Hooray for Hudd, on Sunday 2 June, will be an evening of top-class variety entertainment to celebrate his life and work.

It takes place at the West Cliff Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.

All proceeds go towards a charity formed after Roy’s death.

The Clacton Gazette website says: “A fundraising appeal was made to put up a statue in memory of the much-loved comedy legend.

“Roy was a good friend of the West Cliff and, in 2010, he became patron of the theatre.

“Due to his long association with the West Cliff, the theatre decided to put on a variety show in his memory.

“Organised by Roy’s widow, Debbie Hudd, and local singer Andrew Robley, plenty of artists have agreed to appear on stage.

“Andrew will be performing a selection of songs.

‘Well-rounded cast’

“Jimmy Cricket, one of Ireland’s best-known comedians, is also taking part.

“Steve Hewlett, one of Britain’s leading ventriloquists and finalist in Britain’s Got Talent 2013, will be taking part in the celebratory performance.

“Comedian and actor Richard Gauntlett, who has twice starred in the West Cliff’s Summer Season, will also be performing.

“Lyn Paul, a former member of the New Seekers before starting her solo career and becoming a TV personality, is also attending.

“Other names are yet to be added to form a well-rounded cast.

“Ticket prices are £23, concessions £21.50.

“Hudd broke into television in the mid-1960s in sketch series such as The Illustrated Weekly Hudd and The Roy Hudd Show.

We’d love to see you there!

“His acting roles included the Dennis Potter series Lipstick on Your Collar, for which he received critical praise and a part in Karaoke.

“He also was the long-standing President of the British Music Hall Society and appeared in many pantomimes and variety performances.

“For more information go to westcliffclacton.co.uk/famousfaces/hooray-for-hudd.”

Jimmy commented on social media: “We’d love to see you there!”

Also read: Roy Hudd: One of the great performers, writers and comics

A magician, a ventriloquist and ‘hard-working volunteers’ 150 150 mhamer

A magician, a ventriloquist and ‘hard-working volunteers’

My thanks to organiser the Rev Nathan Ward for tonight’s show @StMargaretsChurch & caught up with two great acts and friends BGT/ventriloquist/Eyes&TeethPodcasts Steve Hewlett with his lovely daughter Lola, & magician Mark Shortland & thanks to the hard-working volunteers too!

A magician and a ventriloquist helped to make it a night of real variety at a show staged in a church in Kent.

Steve Hewlett and Mark Shortland performed at St Margaret’s Church of England in Rainham, along with famous funnyman Jimmy Cricket.My thanks to organiser the Rev Nathan Ward for tonight’s show @StMargaretsChurch & caught up with two great acts and friends BGT/ventriloquist/Eyes&TeethPodcasts Steve Hewlett with his lovely daughter Lola, & magician Mark Shortland & thanks to the hard-working volunteers too!

Steve, a ventriloquist from Basingstoke in Hampshire, was a finalist on the seventh series of Britain’s Got Talent.

Watch his performance in the 2013 final here.

Mark is a comedic magician who auditioned for both Series 10 and 14 of Britain’s Got Talent.

He was 51 years old at the time of his second audition, which was televised.

Watch Mark playing musical musical chairs with the BGT judges!

My thanks to organiser the Rev Nathan Ward for tonight’s show @StMargaretsChurch & caught up with two great acts and friends BGT/ventriloquist/Eyes&TeethPodcasts Steve Hewlett with his lovely daughter Lola, & magician Mark Shortland & thanks to the hard-working volunteers too!St Margaret’s is a diverse and inclusive church which has served the community of Rainham for more than 800 years.

Jimmy said after the show on Friday 26 April: “My thanks to organiser the Rev Nathan Ward for tonight’s show @StMargaretsChurch.

“Caught up with two great BGT/ventriloquist/Eyes&T acts and friendseethPodcasts Steve Hewlett, with his lovely daughter Lola, & magician Mark Shortland.

“And thanks to the hard-working volunteers too!”

All Jimmy’s tour dates are on his website here.

My thanks to organiser the Rev Nathan Ward for tonight’s show @StMargaretsChurch & caught up with two great acts and friends BGT/ventriloquist/Eyes&TeethPodcasts Steve Hewlett with his lovely daughter Lola, & magician Mark Shortland & thanks to the hard-working volunteers too!

Buy Jimmy’s autobiography!

Don’t forget that Jimmy’s official autobiography is on sale.

Memoirs Of An Irish Comedian tells the heart-warming story of Jimmy’s illustrious life and 50-year career.

The paperback version costs £11.99 at online retailer Amazon. It is also available via eBook and audio.

Jimmy Cricket with his autobiography

Signed copies (£15.99 including postage and packing) can be purchased on this website here.

Additionally, it is available at Jimmy’s live gigs for £10, where Jimmy will also sign it.

One pound from the sale of every book goes to Mary’s Meals.

The charity supports feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Also read: Jimmy Cricket’s signed autobiographies now available by post!

‘What a great evening of variety’ at Northop Golf Club 150 150 mhamer

‘What a great evening of variety’ at Northop Golf Club

What a great evening of variety entertainment @Northopgolfclub my thanks to organisers comic/writer/historian @JohnMartinComic and his lovely wife theatricalagent/manager/talentbooker @JoMartin_Mgmt with BGT finalist/juggler/comic @steveroylecomic & the great voice of LouiseRogan

A comedian who was a finalist in Britain’s Got Talent was among the splendid array of entertainers performing at a golf club in Wales.What a great evening of variety entertainment @Northopgolfclub my thanks to organisers comic/writer/historian @JohnMartinComic and his lovely wife theatricalagent/manager/talentbooker @JoMartin_Mgmt with BGT finalist/juggler/comic @steveroylecomic & the great voice of LouiseRogan

Steve Royle was third in the 2020 edition of BGT and also appeared as a juggler in the TV series, Phoenix Nights.

He joined famous funnyman Jimmy Cricket, fellow comic John Martin and singer Louise Rogan on stage at Northop Golf Club, Flintshire.

Jimmy posted on social media afterwards: “What a great evening of variety entertainment @Northopgolfclub.

What a great evening of variety entertainment @Northopgolfclub my thanks to organisers comic/writer/historian @JohnMartinComic and his lovely wife theatricalagent/manager/talentbooker @JoMartin_Mgmt with BGT finalist/juggler/comic @steveroylecomic & the great voice of LouiseRogan

“My thanks to organisers comic/writer/historian @JohnMartinComic and his lovely wife theatricalagent/manager/talentbooker @JoMartin_Mgmt with BGT finalist/juggler/comic @steveroylecomic & the great voice of LouiseRogan.”

Northop Golf Club is situated in stunning 247-acre parkland and is one of the most celebrated golfing venues in North Wales.
What a great evening of variety entertainment @Northopgolfclub my thanks to organisers comic/writer/historian @JohnMartinComic and his lovely wife theatricalagent/manager/talentbooker @JoMartin_Mgmt with BGT finalist/juggler/comic @steveroylecomic & the great voice of LouiseRogan
It offers a championship course and multiple teeing areas, making it a perfect location for golfers of all abilities.

Buy Jimmy’s autobiography!

Don’t forget that Jimmy’s official autobiography is on sale.

Memoirs Of An Irish Comedian tells the heart-warming story of Jimmy’s illustrious life and 50-year career.

The paperback version costs £11.99 at online retailer Amazon. It is also available via eBook and audio.

Jimmy Cricket with his autobiography

Signed copies (£15.99 including postage and packing) can be purchased on this website here.

Additionally, it is available at Jimmy’s live gigs for £10, where Jimmy will also sign it.

One pound from the sale of every book goes to Mary’s Meals.

The charity supports feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Also read: Jimmy Cricket’s signed autobiographies now available by post!

Ireland’s Own: Humour Special edition features our Jimmy 150 150 mhamer

Ireland’s Own: Humour Special edition features our Jimmy

my thanks to journalist Henry Wymbs, for my fun interview for @irelandsown1902 (Ireland's Own) ‘The Humour Special 2024’ edition.

An interview with Jimmy Cricket about his illustrious career is featured in a special edition of Ireland’s Own magazine.

The famous Northern Irish comedian talks about his life and work in the 2024 Humour Special edition of the publication.

Among the highlights, Jimmy reflects on his upbringing, including his dad running an undertaker’s and a pub in his birthplace of Cookstown, County Tyrone.

The family later moved to Belfast, which Jimmy said ended up being a good move for him.

“Dad would take us to the top theatres in town, like the Empire, to see the likes of Norman Wisdom, Billy Dainty and Harry Worth,” says Jimmy.

“Wonderful showmen, whom I had the pleasure of working with so many times.”

Door-to-door salesman

He went on to become good friends with Norman Wisdom, who died in 2010.

Jimmy also recalls in the article that he was living and working in Manchester by the early 1970s.

He worked long days as a door-to-door salesman – “I wasn’t very successful… as everyone I knew had a door!”.

At the same time, he was steadily building a reputation as a comedian.

He met his future wife, May – a professional singer – at a Pontins holiday camp in Morecambe.

my thanks to journalist Henry Wymbs, for my fun interview for @irelandsown1902 (Ireland's Own) ‘The Humour Special 2024’ edition.

“When I bumped into May, she was wearing a Halloween mask – it was love at first fright!”

After the article was published, Jimmy posted on social media: “My thanks to journalist Henry Wymbs, for my fun interview for @irelandsown1902 (Ireland’s Own) The Humour Special 2024 edition.”

Ireland’s Own describes itself as “Ireland’s best-selling and longest-running family magazine”.

It is a full colour, weekly magazine “devoted to all that is best about Ireland and being Irish”.

The magazine is published in Wexford, first appearing in 1902.

Also read: ‘The ultimate feel-good book’ – Jimmy’s autobiography

 

‘The ultimate feel-good book’ – Jimmy’s autobiography 150 150 mhamer

‘The ultimate feel-good book’ – Jimmy’s autobiography

The Jimmy Cricket Story is the famous comedian's official autobiographyJimmy Cricket’s autobiography is ‘funny in all the right places’, according to one of the latest reviews on Amazon.

Memoirs Of An Irish Comedian currently has a high 4.6 global rating on the popular online retail platform.*

The book tells the heart-warming story of Jimmy’s 50 golden years in showbusiness – told in his own words.

One reviewer posted: “A really lovely book about Jimmy’s life in show business and his wife, family.

“A lovely easy read, funny [and] uplifting with a few sad times.

“Brings back memories of days gone by. A true comedian & gentleman. Highly recommend.”

Another purchaser of the book reflected: “Jimmy’s story is wonderful.

“It is personal without being egotistical, detailed without being dull, funny in all the right places!”

And one person described it as the “the ultimate feel-good book”.

Mary’s Meals

Jimmy is happy to sign copies of the book at his live shows, where they are available for the discounted price of £10.

And there is also the opportunity for people to purchase a signed copy of Memoirs Of An Irish Comedian via the Jimmy Cricket Website.
Go to the Shop section on the site and follow the instructions towards the bottom of the page.
The cost is £15.99 (with £3.99 for postage and packaging included).
Online retailer Amazon are selling it priced £11.99.
Additonally, it is available in ebook format priced £9.99 (unless you have subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, in which case it is free). (Amazon Kindle allows users to read ebooks purchased on Amazon.)

One pound from the sale of every book goes to Mary’s Meals.

The charity supports feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities where hunger and poverty prevent children from gaining an education.

* Any ratings which have been given below the maximum 5 stars are not accompanied by reviews.

Also read: Mary’s Meals: 20 years serving global communities

From bingo caller to 50 Golden Years in showbiz!

Jimmy Cricket’s signed autobiographies now available by post!