Entertainment

Gala event to honour Frank Carson

The event will coincide with the anniversary of the comic's death.

A gala performance honouring the life of Belfast comic Frank Carson is set to open at the Grand Opera House.

Tuesday, 04 December 2012
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The event in February, on the first anniversary of his passing, will remember and celebrate the comedian's life with an evening of laughter and entertainment.

Homegrown talent will take to the stage including Patrick Kielty, James Nesbitt and Gloria Hunniford for a special variety gala.

"We wanted to do something to celebrate dad's life and where better to do it than his home town Belfast," Frank's son Tony told UTV as the event was launched.

"We didn't want something sombre we wanted something celebratory and what better way to do it than a grand variety show.

"He would hate not being here, but we will make sure that he performs in some way during it, the producer is going to make sure of that."

All proceeds from the show will benefit two of Frank's favourite local charities - The Integrated Education Fund and CLIC Sargent's Northern Ireland Homes from Home Appeal.

Mr Carson was born in north Belfast on 6 November 1926 to a family of Italian descent.

He grew up in the working class area Little Italy, near York Street and worked as a plasterer and electrician before joining the Parachute Regiment serving three years in the Middle East in the 1950s before turning to show business.

His big break came when he won the talent show 'Opportunity Knocks' three times in the 1960s and went on to appear in The Comedians, Tiswas, The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club.

A familiar face on UTV, the much-loved stand-up rose to fame with his trademark irreverent and irrepressible sense of humour, which entertained audiences across the UK and Ireland.

Large crowds lined the streets as his coffin was taken round the streets of Belfast following his funeral service in March before he was laid to rest at Milltown Cemetery.