Farewell to gem of a comedian

Bobby Ball and Jack Diamond helped add a little colour to St Annes when they planted new rose bushes in Ashton Gardens.
Bobby Ball and Jack Diamond helped add a little colour to St Annes when they planted new rose bushes in Ashton Gardens.
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A comedy legend who brought laughter to hundreds of Blackpool people has died.

Jack Diamond died from a heart attack at the age of 75 at Southport Hospital on Thursday morning.

The former comedian, who basked in the spotlight on Blackpool’s biggest stages for more than 25 years, was made famous by his witty one-liners andtalent for ad-libbing.

His shining career saw him rub shoulders with world-famous stars such as Eartha Kitt, Roy Orbison, The Walker Brothers, The Beatles, and Les Dawson, who he performed with throughout the 70s and 80s.

His widow, former Roly Poly dancer Marie Ashton, 79, said: “He loved showbusiness. It was always a joy to see him working.

“Blackpool was the centre of entertainment at the time. He loved going down and talking to people in the audience and insulting them in a friendly way. He would say things like, ‘where did you get that necklace? A cracker?’

“The crowds loved him. He was always a big favourite at The Grand.”

Jack and Marie married secretly in Florida in 1992 having met several years before when he was compere at the Viking Hotel’s Talk of the Coast cabaret room, South Promenade.

The couple lived on Romney Avenue in South Shore for more than 25 years before moving to Cleveleys in 2002. They retired to Southport in 2008. Marie said: “I performed with Les Dawson many times, but Jack was great friends with him even before we came to Blackpool. They weren’t big names in the early days living in London, so they used to sell vacuum 
cleaners from house to 
house!

“I think he had a good life. He loved showbusiness and he was very proud of me. He was always talking about me to people, and when I came into the hospital the nurses said ‘we know what you do, give us a dance!’

“I said ‘you’re joking, I can barely walk!’ He grew a beard just before he died. He had never grown a beard before and when he went into hospital he was worried about having it shaved off.

“I’m feeling a bit numb. I haven’t come to terms with it yet.

“I miss him just looking around.

“He has left a real legacy behind.”