Tributes pour in for Frank Carson

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TRIBUTES today flooded in for legendary comedian Frank Carson who has died at the age of 85.

The funnyman – who made the Fylde coast his home for many years – lost his battle with stomach cancer, his family confirmed.

Frank Carson

Frank Carson

Belfast-born Frank had been ill for some time and died at home in Blackpool surrounded by his family.

In a statement, they today described him as a “husband, father, Gaga and comedian” who had now “set off for his final gig”.

They added: “He went peacefully at his home in Blackpool surrounded by his greatest fans – his extended family. We will be taking him home to Belfast to lay him to rest and celebrate his joyful life.

“It’s quieter down here now. God help them up there!”

Frank – famed for his “it’s a cracker” catchphrase – supported many Fylde coast charities and lived on Newton Drive.

He rose to fame in the 1960s after winning talent show Opportunity Knocks three times. He went on to appear in The Comedians and Tiswas.

Many of Frank’s close friends rushed to pay tribute to a man they described as one of “the last greats”.

St Annes-based TV comedian Bobby Ball told The Gazette: “I’m absolutely gutted – I never thought he would go. It doesn’t feel real, we really have lost someone we will never replace.”

Syd Little, one half of the TV double act Little & Large, added: “Frank was larger than life. He was a brilliant man and he kept going right until the end.”

Tracy Dawson, wife of the late, great Les Dawson, said: “Frank was one of the last of the greats, but he will be up there now with Les.”

Local comedian Mick Miller tweeted: “The world is a little quieter tonight. Frank Carson was a close friend and I will miss him.”

TV legend Sir Bruce Forsyth added: “He’ll be remembered as the man who loved to make people laugh.”

Former chat show host Sir Michael Parkinson said: “He was a good comic, a good man and great company – you were always smiling with people like Frank around.”

And it was not just the older generation of comedians who admired Frank’s talent for a rib tickler. Declan Donnelly, one half of comic duo Ant and Dec, tweeted: “We were lucky enough to work with Frank Carson, I’ve never laughed as hard as I did in rehearsals with him.”

And actor Simon Pegg tweeted: “Thanks very much and goodnight to Frank Carson.”

Born in Belfast on November 6, 1926 and worked as a plasterer and electrician and was in the Parachute Regiment in the Middle East in the 1950s before turning to showbusiness.

He also worked ceaselessly for charity and was made a Knight of St Gregory by Pope John Paul II in 1987.

Frank dedicated much of his life to looking after his wife Ruth, who had serious eyesight problems, with his sons Tony and Aidan and daughter Majella, despite his heart problems.