ENTERTAINMENT stars in Scarborough have paid tribute to comic legend Frank Carson, who has died aged 85.
The Northern Irish funnyman passed away surrounded by his family after losing his battle with stomach cancer.
The comedian, famed for catchphrases, ‘It’s a cracker’ and ‘It’s the way I tell ‘em’, regularly graced stages at Scarborough’s top venues including the Spa, Futurist and Floral Hall during the 1970s and 1980s.
His last show in Scarborough is believed to have been an Easter Cracker with Duncan Norvelle and Mick Miller at the Futurist in 2003.
He was also a familiar face in Scarborough to visit his brother Jim, who still lives in the town and remains an integral part of the local Poppy Appeal.
Tony Peers, Scarborough’s well-known entertainer and producer, was extremely friendly with Mr Carson.
He said: “I knew Frank for more than 30 years and we used to play golf together regularly.
“You would always get a laugh with him and he was an absolute one-off.
“He was, quite simply, a funny man and he belonged to a breed of comedians you will likely never see again.
“His machine-gun delivery and gag a minute were brilliant and he was a wonderful guy. He is a real loss and I would like to express my condolences to Frank’s family.”
Mr Peers recalled a time when he and friends had enjoyed a golfing day with Mr Carson.
He added: “I had some friends staying and Frank came down.
“He talked all the way to the course, gave a running commentary all the way around, talked all the way back and then entertained back at the house but he was genuinely funny at all times.
“He was also a great ambassador for charity.”
Shaun Browne, who managed Scarborough’s Floral Hall, said Mr Carson was a huge hit with crowds.
Mr Browne praised Mr Carson’s repertoire and recalled when a show was halted in 1974 due to an IRA bomb threat.
He said: “Frank was a smashing man and a top-class comedian.
“He was a really good summer season act and went down well with audiences.
“We had two threats over the phone that bombs had been planted.
“Frank had just started his show and I had to go on stage to explain the situation to him and the crowd.
“We all had to evacuate and gather on the bowling green until we were given the word it was a hoax. But he took it all in his stride and carried on.
“He was a super man and a really nice chap.”
Dennis York, a former stagehand at the Futurist Theatre, remembered working at the seaside venue when Mr Carson appeared on the bill.
He added: “He was a very pleasant man. He was a brilliant comedian and was just a nice and friendly gentleman.
“I watched him ever since he started on The Comedians television show and he was always enjoyed by the crowds here in Scarborough.”
Former Scarborough boxing world champion Paul Ingle met Mr Carson a number of times, including at a fundraiser in the town.
The ex-IBF featherweight champion said: “Frank was a really nice bloke and so down to earth too. He was a really friendly man and a gentleman. It is such a shame, Frank was sound as a pound.”
In a statement, his family said he was a “husband, father and comedian.”
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 celebrate his joyful life.
“It’s quieter down here now. God help them up there!”