In Royal Opera House days (another of Scarborough’s historic theatres) Sir Ken Dodd was the president of the Royal Opera House Theatre Club. He used to call me the ‘Gafferess’.
These were very happy days when Mamie Benson’s children played Ken’s Diddy Men. He always said they were the best ever.
On one occasion his late appearance at a fundraising event at the theatre stopped the traffic in St Thomas Street. The police arrived and people were ushered into the main theatre.
I telephoned the Crown Hotel where Ken was staying and he assured me he was on his way. The natives were certainly restless but when he eventually walked down the aisle of the theatre waving his tickling stick, he completely diffused the situation and had the people in the palm of his hand such was his magnetism. This story made the national papers.
His partner, Anne Jones was his driver and a support act in his shows.
He obviously enjoyed making money but I think it is a bit sad that he didn’t seem to take time out to smell the roses. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Anne, “Tears for Souvenirs” are fitting words but we must remember that “Happiness” is Ken’s epitaph.