Frank Carson: I'm going to win my cancer fight
Comedian Frank Carson, who will be 85 in November, was still cracking one-liners as he talked about his determination to beat stomach cancer.
The funnyman is currently recovering from an operation for the disease.
"I'm going to win this fight," he declared yesterday.
"So far the surgeons are satisfied with my progress and have been carrying out tests.
"I'm praying to Saint Peregrine who is the Patron Saint of cancer that I'll recover totally and I want everyone back home to pray for me too."
Frank, who until a few weeks ago was still giving more than 80 shows a year, many of them for charity, went to the doctor with a breathing problem and was rushed into hospital in Preston from his home in Blackpool.
"I wanted my illness to be kept quiet, but the word leaked out," he said. "Look I'm still looking forward to a charity bash I'm throwing in the Lowry Theatre in Manchester in December for the Duke of Edinburgh's 90th birthday.
"That will be my last charity performance and I'll be taking life easy after that which will make my wife Ruth happy.
"I'm not letting this illness get me down. I've had a good life.
"In fact my son Tony says the way I have lived I should be 120 now." Tony, a successful businessman, and Frank have worked ceaselessly for good causes in Northern Ireland.
He has another son Aidan and a daughter Majella, a property dealer, and 10 grandchildren.
Frank, a former Mayor of Balbriggan in the Republic where he used to live, adds: "I'm thinking at this time of my old mum Josie who lived until she was 85 and was the inspiration for me becoming a comic.
"She was the funniest and wittiest lady I ever knew. I learned my technique from her." Only a couple of months ago Frank was in Rome for the beatification of Pope John who several years ago made the comedian a Knight of St Gregory which is an honour in the Roman Catholic Church.
"I'm not despondent," Frank stressed.
"Actually I'm enjoying this time at home with Ruth and having a rest."
"But I will make a recovery, I'm certain and get back on the circuit again although my workrate will be cut back drastically."
Frank Carson was born in Belfast and worked as a plasterer and electrician. His family is of Italian descent, with his grandmother coming from Sicily.
He grew up in the Little Italy area of Belfast and spent three years with the Parachute Regiment in the Middle East in the 1950s. The comic became a popular performer on local television before moving to England to work as a stand-up club comedian. Carson was a stalwart on TV show The Comedians and has continued a career as a stand-up along with regular television appearances