Belfast Telegraph

Stars to fly in for Frank Carson’s funeral

By Eddie McIlwaine and Louise Small

Famous faces from the golden era of showbusiness are set to pay their final respects to much-loved comedian Frank Carson.

Stars from yesteryear to today are expected to attend the funnyman’s weekend funeral Mass, including Bobby Ball, Jimmy Cricket, Roy Walker and May McFettridge, aka John Linehan.

The remains of the popular comic — who died in Blackpool aged 85 last week — are now back home in Northern Ireland.

Frank’s coffin is open and members of the public can pay their respects today between 11am and 7pm at Hugh O’Kane’s funeral directors in Donegall Street.

His funeral Mass will be held on Saturday at 11.30am at St Patrick's church, where he married his beloved wife Ruth 62 years ago.

The service will be followed with his burial in Milltown cemetery.

Veteran entertainer George Carroll (78) became close friends with Frank back in the early 1960s when they appeared together in a summer season at Portush with singer Roger Whittaker.

“I will be there on Saturday morning to say farewell to my old mate,” said Carroll.

With George will be his colleague Syd Dodsworth (79).

“George and I appeared on stage as The Recordites and Frank loved our act,” recalled Syd. “Attending the funeral will be a pilgrimage for both George and I to pay our respects to a lovely man.”

Walker is cutting short a stay in France to travel home to Belfast for the funeral. He and Frank had been friends for years and lived close to one another in Blackpool.

Cricket will make it to Belfast — where he used to be a spool boy in a cinema before discovering his talent for comedy — and Ball of Cannon and Ball fame is due to attend.

Comic John Cooke is also due to attend, along with musician Trixie Hamilton and his son Harry – better known as Freddie Mercury impersonator Flash Harry.

Linehan, who plays panto star May McFettride, will also be at St Patrick’s to pay his respects.

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George Carroll was once a household name, performing as one half of popular 1950s act The Recordites. Alongside band-mate Syd Dodsworth, he toured the theatres of Ireland and the UK miming to popular and comedy songs. Carroll’s big claim to fame was writing the song Irish Eyes, which became a favourite at home and in the US. It has been covered by many singers, including Daniel O’Donnell. In recent years he’s acted in films.

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