Words for Wisdom

Sir Norman honoured by comedy festival

Friends of Sir Norman Wisdom are to pay tribute in an official memorial show at next year’s Leicester Comedy Festival.

Nicholas Parsons, Tom O’Connor, Jess Conrad and lookalike act Glenn M. Ford will among those remembering the star at the February 13 show.

Sir Norman Wisdom was a patron of the festival, and one of his last public performances took place in Leicester in 2002.

Festival director, Geoff Rowe said: ‘When we set up Leicester Comedy Festival in 1994 we wrote to comedy legends and asked for their support as patrons.  Sir Norman Wisdom kindly agreed and it was an honour to welcome him to the festival in 2002.  I hope this tribute show will be a fitting tribute to the great man and enable us to celebrate his great contribution to British comedy.’

And the current Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year, Josh Widdicombe, admitted he was a fan.

The 27-year-old said: ‘A lot of comedy dates quite quickly, but you can watch some of Norman's earlier stuff and it'll still make you laugh.  There are not many comedians out there who have managed to recreate his style.  That shows you just how hard he must have worked and how good he was.’

Profits from the show at De Montfort Hall will go towards Cancer Research UK, The Grand Order of Water Rats and the festival itself.

Sir Norman died at his Isle on Man home in October, age 95, following a series of strokes. His agent Johnny Mans said: ‘Norman is sadly missed by all his friends, family and fellow artistes and we hope as many of these as possible will be at the show.’

The Leicester Comedy Festival has also launched another fundraising idea – inviting runners will travel between all of its venues over the course of the 17 days. The distance is the equivalent of a double marathon – 52.4 miles – for those who follow the festival’s suggested route.

The Running Joke was launched by Kate Owen, who last year raised £1,000 in sponsorship doing it alone, but this year wants to be joined by others. She said: ‘Most days the routes mean you run relatively small distances, building up to a double marathon over the 17 days. If I can complete it, anyone can.’

The Leicester Comedy Festival runs from February 4 to 20.

Published: 2 Dec 2010

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