Frank Carson: Scatter my ashes over Corporation Street... but not just yet
Published 01/09/2011 | 00:00
Comic Frank Carson was chirpier than ever as he prepared to meet his surgeon this afternoon to learn if his cancer has been caught in time.
"The operation I had on my stomach was really serious," he confirmed.
"And now I await the verdict of the medical men who will be telling me if it has spread to my liver.
"But I'm upbeat and appreciating the prayers of yourself and all those Northern Ireland folk who I know for sure really care about me.
"Their thoughts make me feel a wee bit emotional.
"All this talk of operations reminds me of the fellow who had all his teeth pulled out by a dentist and told his pal it was a painful experience. 'Never again' was his verdict."
Away from the one-liners Frank, who is 85 in November, is also looking to the near future.
"I'm due back home on October 4 to present an education bursary with my businessman son, Tony, aimed at bringing all the children of Belfast, Protestant and Catholic, together in the same classrooms and nothing is going to get in the way of that visit.
"No, I'm not scared about anything the surgeons might have to tell me. I did 28 jumps into enemy territory as a paratrooper during the war and I was shot at in Palestine. That was something to be really frightened about.
"However, what cheers me up now is thinking back to funny things that happened in my life.
"After I was demobbed, I was employed in planemakers Short & Harland and 10 of us workers were used as ballast on a flying boat that was being test flown out of Sydenham.
"When the test pilot made a rather shaky landing he forgot he hadn't touched down on tarmac and stepped out of the cockpit and right into the water with a mighty splash.
"When we made sure he wasn't drowning we fell about laughing."
There are moments though when Frank confides that he has given thought to the fact that he is only mortal after all.
He explained: "When I die I want to be cremated and my ashes placed in a bucket which (Frank's wife) Ruth will take first to Belfast to scatter a few handfuls down Corporation Street where I was a child and around Sinclair Seamen's Presbyterian Church.
"I remember that after every harvest service the minister distributed the fruit and vegetables to the residents of my street and my mum, Josie, was grateful.
"Next Ruth will go to Balbriggan outside Dublin in the Republic where I was Mayor for a time and loved the job. So I want some of my ashes scattered there.
"And whatever bits and pieces are left in the bucket she will take to Blackpool where we have lived so happily for years for a final scattering.
"But why am I being so morbid? I've a lot of living to do yet and right now I'm finishing off a crossword and then going for a walk."