‘Gobsmacked’ at Les’ OBE mystery

Les Dawson
Les Dawson
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He was a much loved star of stage and screen – but the wife of Les Dawson admits she is “baffled” he was never given a national honour.

Tracy Dawson revealed she was “gobsmacked” to find out late husband Les was twice shortlisted for an OBE, but snubbed both times.

Les Dawson and Tracy Dawson in 1989

Les Dawson and Tracy Dawson in 1989

The TV star was recommended for the honour in the late 1980s but missed out both times.

Tracy, 64, told The Gazette: “He did an awful lot of charity work – I only realised how much after he died.

“It was a shock when I was told he had been nominated but not been given an honour.

“I am just absolutely gobsmacked. It’s sad really.

“His fans say he should have been a Sir Les Dawson. I think he was very modest and I know he would have been very honoured and proud.”

Cabinet Office files requested by The Mail on Sunday showed the Blankety Blank host was recommended to receive the honour first in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 1987 and again in the New Year Honours List of 1989.

According to the paper, the official records are partly redacted and do not explain why Dawson, who lived on the Fylde coast, was not honoured on either occasion.

It was suggested headlines surrounding the star’s love life may have prompted second thoughts by politicians or civil servants.

But Tracy said the couple’s relationship should not have counted against the comedian.

She added: “When you see what happens today and the people who get these awards it just does not seem right.

“Two people had fallen in love and that was it.

“I could not understand, with it being our private life, what we could have done wrong.

“At the time it was suggested he could have been given the award, we spent a lot of time at St James Palace, Buckingham Palace and Number 10 Downing Street.

“For him to be recognised he would have been extremely proud – he was a national institution. It baffles me why he was never honoured.”

The much-loved TV star married Tracy in 1989 and the couple had a daughter, Charlotte, before his death aged 62 in 1993.

He was honoured with a service at Westminster Abbey the following year and a bronze statue was unveiled in St Annes Promenade in 2008 – 15 years after his death after suffering a heart attack.

Les’ daughter Pamela, by his first marriage, told The Mail on Sunday: “I wasn’t even aware Dad had even been in the running for this.

“I must admit it has brought a big smile to my face.

“He would have been absolutely thrilled even just to have been considered.

“He was a very humble man and never talked about awards.”