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"It was the way he told them"
Tribute to the late Frank Carson 241 179 mhamer

Tribute to the late Frank Carson

Comedian Frank Carson

Comedian Frank Carson

Jimmy Cricket has paid a warm and glowing tribute to fellow comedian and great friend Frank Carson who died this week aged 85.

Frank, who like Jimmy was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, passed away on Wednesday after battling ill health for some time.

Famous for his comic sayings “it’s a cracker” and “it’s the way I tell ’em”, Frank rose to prominence in the 60s after winning Opportunity Knocks.

He leaves a wife, Ruth, daughter Majella and sons Tony and Aidan, and 10 grandchildren.

Belfast City Council has opened a book of condolence in Frank’s memory.

Jimmy said: “There are some comedians who can read a telephone directory and make it sound funny. Frank was one of them. His inflection of voice, facial expressions and delivery could make the oldest gags seem fresh and hilarious.

“He was quite inspirational to the likes of me. I saw him leave Northern Ireland and make it big in the UK and this motivated me to do the same.

“I actually headed for Liverpool and presented myself at the office of his then agent, Ernie Mack. He gave me a warm welcome but explained I needed experience. He then rang his star comedian and asked him there and then to have a word with me.

"'Unstoppable enthusiasm"

"Unstoppable enthusiasm"

“Frank said: ‘Try and work every night, even if it’s for nothing. That way you’ll polish up your jokes by putting a word in here and leaving a word out there.’

“Looking back now on that telephone conversation 45 years on, I now see it was a masterclass on how to be a stand-up comedian. When it was over I said: ‘Well Frank, thanks for your advice.’ He said: ‘It’s not advice you want, it’s money!’

“Frank was one of the funniest comedians there ever was both on and off the stage. He spent his life cheering people up and his enthusiasm was unstoppable. He lit up every room he went into.

“He could do his act in a hotel, chat to everybody until two in the morning and be the first one up for breakfast.

“His was a tireless fundraiser for worthy causes and one of his proudest possessions was the Order of the Knighthood of St Gregory. This was bestowed on him by Pope John Paul II in recognition of his work for charity.

“Like a singer has hit tunes, Frank had hit jokes that people wanted to hear over again.

“Because quite simply it was the way he told them.”

* Pay your own tribute to Frank using our comment form below.

Top entertainers: Frank Carson with Jimmy Cricket, Paul Daniels, Cannon and Ball, and the Krankies

Frank Carson with Jimmy Cricket, Paul Daniels, Cannon and Ball, and the Krankies

Raising money for Help for Heroes 150 150 mhamer

Raising money for Help for Heroes

Jimmy Cricket and Phil Walker at the Comedy for Heroes show

Fellow comics Jimmy Cricket and Phil Walker at the fund-raising Comedy for Heroes show in Sale

Jimmy Cricket appeared with fellow comedians at a show to raise money for wounded members of the Armed Forces.

The Comedy for Heroes show, which took place at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale, Greater Manchester, on Saturday 18 February, was a fundraiser for Help for Heroes.

Other funnymen on the show included John Moloney, Rob Rouse, Phil Walker and Steve Royle.

Comedian and TV presenter Jason Manford made an appearance at the end of the performance, while his brother Colin was compere for the night.

The organisers said afterwards: “We would like to thank our audience for joining us for Comedy for Heroes.

“We had an amazing night. All the comics were brilliant and we had loads of bids for the sports auction prizes. Our bucket was full of raffle tickets for our great prizes too.

“We were even visited by comic royalty in the shape of Jason Manford at the end of the gig!”

Help for Heroes was founded by Bryn and Emma Parry in October 2007 out of a wish to help the wounded servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

* A video slideshow of Jimmy with several of his fellow comedians involved in this event can be viewed on the front page of this website and at the Welliebootuk channel on YouTube.