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Cheltenham fondly remembers funny Frank Carson

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 24, 2012

Memories: Frank Carson watches the Cheltenham Festival in 2007

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COMEDIAN Frank Carson has been fondly remembered in Cheltenham as a "genuine gentleman".

Tributes have been made to the Belfast born funnyman who has died of cancer aged 85.

The comic thought Cheltenham was "a cracker" as he was a regular visitor.

He topped the bill at Cheltenham Town Hall and charmed audiences with a stand-up routine during 2010 Gold Cup week in the Thistle Cheltenham Hotel.

General manager Martin Orme said: "He was a huge smiling presence throughout the hotel.

"We had him booked to do his normal stand-up in our function suite but he was networking ad hoc in the lounge and bar and in the restaurant. "People who booked to see him got what they wanted, but those who were staying or dining with us, had a bonus if they weren't expecting to see him.

"He stayed the night and put a smile on everyone's face, all the staff and everyone who came into contact with him."

Mr Carson had been the "obvious" choice to entertain Irish race pundits.

Mr Orme added: "He was also completely genuine, a real gentleman, and was the same person when you just talked to him as when he a microphone in his hand. He was just Frank, no one could imitate him, he was unique."

Frank, known for his catch-phrase 'It's the way I tell 'em', made his name winning television talent show Opportunity Knocks three times.

A much-loved star, he also opened the former Jim Thompson's Oriental bar and restaurant in Cheltenham but it was Prestbury Park which was the off-duty lure for the racing fan. Crowds spotted him in 2007, the same year as Irish president Mary McAleese attended.

Characteristically cheerful, he sported a multi-coloured tie and dapper pink handkerchief in his jacket pocket.

Professionally, Mr Carson had fans laughing in the aisles at Cheltenham Town Hall.

He worked there several times, including headlining in 2004 with fellow comedians Roy Walker and Ken Goodwin with Jimmy Cricket and Ian 'Sludge' Lees.

Recalling his irrepressible personality, events manager Gary Newman said: "Frank Carson never knew when to stop telling his jokes, even if there was just a couple of us in his dressing room, he still came out with joke after joke. "I always remember Frank for his crazy infectious laugh. He was a legend."

SOME FRANK CARSON CRACKERS:1. I rang British Telecom. I said: “I want to report a nuisance caller.” He said: “Not you again.”2. “Private Carson I didn’t see you in camouflage class today.” “Thank you very much sir.”3. A fella said to the doctor: “What’s the good news?” “You’ve got 24 hours to live.” He says: “What’s the bad news?” And the doc says: “We should have told you yesterday.”4. My wife said to me: “If you won the lottery, would you still love me?” I said: “Of course I would. I’d miss you, but I’d still love you.”5. Someone threw a petrol bomb at Alex Higgins once. He drank it.6. A guy goes into B&Q and says: “I’d like some nails please.” They ask: ‘How long would you like them?” He replies: “I want to keep them.”7. “A fella walks into a pet shop and says: “Give me wasp.” The shopkeeper replies: “We don’t sell wasps.” He says: “There’s one in the window.”8. My father fought in World War I and single-handedly destroyed the Germans’ lines of communication. He ate their pigeon.

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