Funeral date for resort star Keith Harris

Keith Harris and Orville
Keith Harris and Orville
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A date has been set for the funeral of entertainer Keith Harris.

A public ceremony will be held for the popular ventriloquist at Sacred Heart Church, Talbot Road, next Friday at noon.

The service will be followed by a private burial for family and close friends, his agent Robert C Kelly has announced.

Keith’s death following a battle with cancer was announced on Tuesday morning. He had been treated at Blackpool’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

He was given the all clear from cancer of the spleen last year, having had the organ removed, but was taken ill again in January - just weeks after his return to the stage with companions Orville and Cuddles for three shows at Sands Venue in December.

His career spanned five decades, with a BBC One prime time slot on Saturday nights in the 80s, The Keith Harris Show.

Mr Harris, who lived in Poulton, leaves his wife Sarah, the mother of his two teenage children Shenton and Kitty,and grown-up daughter Skye, from his previous marriage.

Former model Sarah has spoken of her devastation and heartbreak at Keith’s death and how he ‘smiled and joked right to the very end’.

And tributes poured in from the entertainment world.

Syd Little, of Little and Large, said: “Keith’s going to be sadly missed. Showbusiness was his life.”

Pal and stand-up comic Mick Miller, who also lives in Poulton, added: “He has fought his cancer with courage and dignity.”

Louis Theroux, who interviewed the entertainer for a 2002 documentary, wrote on Twitter: “RIP ventriloquist Keith Harris. Lovely man. My thoughts are with his family.’

Another Blackpool-based performer to pay their respects was Joe Longthorne, who said: “Keith was a true legend.”