New Year Hon­ours Ken’s so tick­led at be­ing knighted

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Active - BY KATE LALLY kate.lally@trin­i­tymir­ @kate­lal­lyx

KEN Dodd has been made a knight in the New Year’s Hon­ours.

The vet­eran fun­ny­man said: “I woke up this morn­ing and thought – what a beau­ti­ful day for be­com­ing a ‘Sir’!

The 89-year-old also said he was “proud and also hum­bled” to re­ceive the knight­hood, pay­ing trib­ute to all those who had cam­paigned over the years for him to be recog­nised.

And he joked that he was now go­ing to buy a new suit for his trip to Buck­ing­ham Palace, as well as think­ing of a suit­able joke to tell the Queen.

Sir Ken was given an OBE in 1982, how­ever fans have since cam­paigned long and hard for him to re­ceive a knight­hood.

Among cam­paign­ers was Sarah King, daugh­ter of former tourism boss Phil King – who was af­fec­tion­ately known as “Mr South­port”.

Mr King worked tire­lessly to put South­port on the map and worked for Sefton Coun­cil be­tween 1977-98, in­tro­duc­ing events such as South­port Air Show, and he and Ken were great friends.

Af­ter Phil died in 2014, Ken said: “”He loved the town and was to­tally ded­i­cated to the pro­mo­tion of every­thing good about South­port – es­pe­cially the the­atre.

“He had time for ev­ery­body and was a bril­liant Di­rec­tor of En­ter­tain­ment shar­ing his warm per­son­al­ity and abun­dant en­thu­si­asm with ev­ery­one.

“To me per­son­ally he was also a very kind and dear friend over many years.”

Ken later un­veiled a spe­cial plaque at South­port The­atre and Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in hon­our of Phil King.

Just last year, Ken told the Visiter that South­port has a spe­cial place in his heart, and that com­ing to the town is ‘‘like com­ing home’’.

Sarah King said she is ‘‘ab­so­lutely de­lighted’’ to see Sir Ken re­ceive the hon­our. She said: “This has been a long time com­ing; I’m just sad my dad isn’t here to cel­e­brate.

“He would be ab­so­lutely over the moon as he was part of the cam­paign to get Doddy a knight­hood.

“Ken Dodd is a true com­edy leg­end. Not only is he a great show­man but he is very gen­er­ous with his time and does a lot for char­ity. This is more than well de­served.”

Ken­neth Arthur Dodd was born in Knotty Ash in Novem­ber 1927, one of three chil­dren of coal mer­chant Arthur Dodd and his wife Sarah.

The young Ken got his first paid gig as a school­boy when he en­ter­tained the boys at the city’s St Ed­ward’s Or­phan­age, earn­ing him­self half a crown.

His first big break came in 1954 when he made his pro­fes­sional show­biz de­but at the old Not­ting­ham Em­pire, later mak­ing a name for him­self in shows at Black­pool.

He re­mains best known, how­ever, for the length of his live shows, with fans often miss­ing their buses and trains home.

But de­spite more than 60 years in the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness, he shows no sign of hang­ing up the fa­mous tick­ling stick.

Speak­ing to the Visiter last year, he said: “I have never even con­sid­ered re­tire­ment. Why would I? I love every sec­ond of do­ing my job!

“If you can call it a job. It doesn’t feel like work to me.

“The the­atre has al­ways been my favourite place. Af­ter more than 50 glo­ri­ously happy years, I still en­joy the ‘buzz’ of the live venue and a packed au­di­ence laugh­ing their heads off and for­get­ting all their cares and wor­ries for the night.”

Ken with partner Anne Jones and, below left, with South­port tourism boss and good friend Phil King in 1989

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