Ian McKellen visits Wigan woman who used to push his pram

Ian McKellen visits Margaret Larkin and family at her Standish home
Ian McKellen visits Margaret Larkin and family at her Standish home

Acting superstar Ian McKellen took a trip down memory lane to visit the woman who used to push him in his pram when he was a baby.

The star of stage and screen spent more than an hour and a half in Standish talking to 94-year-old Margaret Larkin about their memories of the past before his recent show at Wigan Little Theatre.

Mrs Larkin’s parents were close friends of Ian’s mother and father through a Christian organisation.

The poignant visit was arranged by her son Chris Larkin, a professional musician, who got in touch with Ian to ask if he would mind visiting his mum due to their personal connection.

The reply said the renowned thespian and cinema star would be delighted to visit and the family spoke glowingly about the touching occasion.

Mrs Larkin’s daughter Cathy Kay said: “My mum lived on Trafalgar Road and Ian lived on Park Road, on the other side of Mesnes Park.

“She used to love taking him out in the pram, they used to go to Boots. She’s always followed his career and told people she knew him. We all joke it’s our family’s claim to fame.

“They talked a lot about their parents. He obviously enjoyed it thoroughly and so did my mum.

“She asked him about the shows he had done and we had the old photos down and some newspaper articles out, which Ian was very interested in.

“He was so kind to her, he made her feel so much at ease and so happy.

“I guess for him she is the last link he has back to his childhood in the Wigan area, the last person he knew. It was quite a touching scene.

“He is such a humble person and a lovely man. My mum was still talking about it the next day.”

Ian also took an interest in Cathy’s brother Chris’ musical career playing the French horn and signed a copy of Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear for her sister Jan, who was in Greece and couldn’t get back to the borough.

The glorious weather meant the visit, which included the family making Ian some lunch, could take place in the garden.

The acting legend’s two sold-out shows at Wigan Little Theatre, held to mark his 80th birthday, were in heavy demand with more than 2,000 people left disappointed following a ticket ballot.