Fans of comedian Frank Carson have had a chance to say a final goodbye, when his coffin went on display at his local church.
The devout catholic passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his family last week, aged 85. He had fought a long battle with stomach cancer.
And friends and fans alike had a last opportunity to pay a tribute to him, when his casket was put on public display at St Kentigern's Roman Catholic Church in his adopted home of Blackpool, Lancashire.
Carson, who was famous for his quick-fire comedy, and his catchphrases: ‘It’s a cracker’ and ‘It’s the way I tell ‘em’ began his comedy career as a member of a minstrel troupe in his native Belfast.
After getting a break in a TV show, Carson went on to become a household name, touring and playing to packed theatres around the world, and becoming a TV favourite for his machinegun joke telling style, which was robust and self deprecating, but never crude.
Despite the pressures of fame and fortune, Carson remained a committed Catholic, and even had an audience with the Pope, who gave him an award for his charity work.
Carson was married to wife Ruth, and the couple had three children, although he loved his native Northern Ireland, Frank had settled in Blackpool, where his comedic genious was celebrated.
A private reception was held for family members before the coffin was put on public display.
His funeral will be held in Northern Ireland on Saturday, and a Requiem Mass will be held in St Patrick's Church, where he was married to his childhood sweetheart Ruth more than 60 years ago.
February 27th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross