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Comedian Jimmy Cricket tells of shock as Pope gives him knighthood for charity work

By Claire McNeilly

Published 21/09/2015

Jimmy Cricket has been honoured by Pope Francis
Jimmy Cricket has been honoured by Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Northern Ireland comedian Jimmy Cricket has received a Papal knighthood from Pope Francis.

The 69-year-old star, known for his catchphrase 'And there's more', was awarded the highest honour in the Roman Catholic Church for services to charity.

The Cookstown-born funnyman took to Twitter to reveal that his parish priest had given him the good news.

He wrote: "Overjoyed my local priest Fr Joe visited me earlier and handed me this, a papal knighthood for services to charity."

Initially, the father-of-four, real name James Joseph Mulgrew, thought the priest had called to give him a 70th birthday card.

Fans on the social media site congratulated the veteran comic, whose son Frankie was ordained a priest in 2012.

Colin Hicks said: "Well done sir!! Amazing honour. You were the introduction & the reason I've loved comedy all these years. Thank you."

Another follower, a local priest, added: "Congratulations - look forward to you riding your horse through St Peter's Square!" After leaving school at 16, Cricket, from Co Tyrone, began his career in clubs and on stage and screen and he performed in holiday camps.

His hit show And There's More turned him into a household name.

He told BBC Radio Ulster that the Papal honour had come "right out of the blue" and that he was "humbled and honoured" by the recognition.

"The parish priest arrived and took out this certificate - it was a papal knighthood and it was in Latin," he said. "I thought: 'He's got the wrong fella here, is he sure it's not the neighbour?

"I do what I love. If I can raise money by entertaining people, sure it's not hard work. To get an honour for doing something that you love is quite a blessing."

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph earlier this year, Cricket spoke of his early days in Northern Ireland prior to national fame.

"I worked in a box-making factory on the Ormeau Road in Belfast, then was a board marker in a bookies. One of the nicest things was a show on Radio 2 in the Nineties called Jimmy's Cricket Team. We had some great people working on it, like the guy who wrote the Morecambe and Wise Christmas show."

There’s more: his top five jokes

1. Your brother Donal in the army has been promoted. He's been made a court martial.

2. Your dad got a nasty shock last night in bed. He thought he had a hole in his heart. But it turned out to be a Polo mint in his pyjamas pocket.

3. You won't believe it, but your dad's actually been looking for work. He went for a job on the farm last week. The farmer said to him: "I'm looking for a fellow to pick potatoes." Your father replied: "If you want my advice you should get the fellow who planted them, as he knows where he put them."

4. Then the farmer asked him: "How would you stop a rooster from crowing on a Sunday morning?" Your Dad said: "I'd eat him on Saturday night."

5. Tommy from the library died last week. As a mark of respect everybody in the library stood up and made a noise for a minute.

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