TRIBUTES have been paid to comedy legend Sir Ken Dodd – a regular visitor to East Lancashire.

The much-loved star, aged 90, famous for his epic stand-up shows, his tickling sticks and Diddy Men, died on Sunday in the home he was born in, in the Liverpool suburb of Knotty Ash.

The Liverpool comedian left hospital on February 27 at the end of a six-week stay for a chest infection.

He married Anne Jones, his partner of 40 years, on Friday and an announcement was due to go out later this week about the marriage.

Ken made several appearances in East Lancashire throughout the years including being the VIP guest when Accrington Arndale Centre opened in October 1987.

Creative director at the Oswaldtwistle Civic Arts Theatre, Gayle Knight recalled watching him at the venue.

She said: “He appeared a few times, not in recent years, but he was always popular and a sell-out here.

“There are things we have been told that he was always hard to get off the stage and his shows were extremely long.

“One of the times our caretaker actually went on stage to tell him he had been on for long enough.

“I went to see him myself once with my grandma and we had to go at the interval as he had been on for two and a half hours and by that stage it was really late. But he kept on going and had everyone laughing.

“He was a traditional clean comedian and his show was great family fun. He was very quick-witted.

“It is very sad to hear of his death and he brought some very good times here and this place loved him very much.”

His publicist Robert Holmes told the Press Association: “To my mind, he was one of the last music hall greats. There is no-one else that comes close. He passed away in the home that he was born in over 90 years ago.

“He’s never lived anywhere else. It’s absolutely amazing.

“With Ken gone, the lights have been turned out in the world of variety.
“He was a comedy legend and a genius.”

He said of his marriage: “He asked Anne if she wanted to marry. 

“They got the registrar and were married in the house on Friday. He died two days later on Mother’s Day. Anne is obviously very upset. They had been together for 40 years. It’s a love story to beat them all.”