Show must go on as pair brave tragedy for charity

Sue and John Coolie

Sue and John Coolie

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For Jean Parkes and Sue Coolie, the last year has been truly awful.

But it says much about them and their character that on Monday they are holding a charity entertainment night to raise funds for others.

Liam and Jean Parkes

Liam and Jean Parkes

Sue was one-half of the comedy duo No Idea Comedy with her husband John.

When they heard about the death of Jean’s son, Liam, at the age of 32 last year, they offered to organise an event to raise money for charity.

But in November, Sue’s husband was diagnosed with leukaemia and passed away in February.

The two women, who had each suffered huge personal losses, thought about cancelling the night but bravely 
decided to press on.

And at town centre cabaret venue Viva on Monday they will host the appropriately named A Night To Remember.

The night will feature a 
variety of top local singers and comedians and all funds go to Parkinson’s UK (Jean suffers from the condition) and a 
leukaemia charity.

Jean, who has worked in the entertainment industry all her life, said: “It has been a terrible time for both of us and we weren’t going to do this event but, in the end, we thought we should.

“I know that Liam (who suffered from bipolar and took his own life) wouldn’t want me to be sitting around all morbid.

“It is tougher for Sue in a way because her husband John only passed away 
recently.

“But maybe this is a little way that helps us both to cope and get through things.

“For me the fact it is happening on Monday is special because it would have been Liam’s 34th birthday on the Tuesday, so it is a way of taking my mind off things.”

All acts on Monday – which include Jo Little, Ricky Lane, Barnie Scott, Steve Berry, the Viva Dancers, and many more – have given their time free of charge.

Jean added: “Liam used to work backstage at the 
Musical Tavern and obviously John was an entertainer.

“So a lot of people knew them and the people within the entertainment industry have been fantastic in the 
way they’ve supported this event.

“It’s allowed us to put 
together a really good line-up of acts. We’ve got people coming from all over the country and hopefully we will raise lots of money for two very good causes, and at the same time remember two people who were very special to many 
people, but especially Sue 
and I.”

Tickets are £15 with a hot pot supper included, or £10 just to watch the show.

The night starts at 7.30pm and tickets are available from 01253 297297.