THERE was a dearth of Diddymen but a double dose of tickling sticks courtesy of a true comedy legend.
The undisputed King of Knotty Ash Ken Dodd had them chuckling even before he had finished crossing the car park to officially open Winstanley’s The Grange Community Centre under the new management of adjoining Hope Special School.
Evergreen Ken, 87, and now a top entertainer for more than half a century, was honouring a pledge he made after a surprise meeting with Hope School teacher Jill Davies, when the pair found themselves sitting side by side at a Christmas carol concert at Liverpool Cathedral.
Doddy is currently selling out an amazing Diamond Jubilee Happiness tour.
Clearly a born performer, he seized upon the small group of school officials, councillors and centre users to launch into corny gag-cracking before even being introduced.
As he pulled back the blue crushed velvet curtains to reveal a copper inscribed plaque there was, of course, a quip about his famous brush with the taxman. Doddy needed help with the big countdown from guests, of course, because he has always been poor with numbers...!
Later, after a tour of Hope School with proud head Peter Dahlstrom, he delighted the pupils and staff by joining the assembly to lead beaming pupils in a fun filled rendition of his signature tune, Happiness!
Ken told the Evening Post that he had always admired Wiganers from the days when, as a young boy knocking around his father’s Liverpool coalman yard, strapping figures from Wigan with impenetrable Lancashire accents speaking “the original English” unloaded vast lorry loads of black gold to keep Liverpool warm and machines spinning.
Doddy said: “You dug it up and we sold it – and that way round suited us fine.”