Frank Carson Dead: Body Returns Home To Belfast Where Fans Pay Tribute

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Frank Carson's body has been retruned to his home town of Belfast
Frank Carson's body has been retruned to his home town of Belfast

Family, friends and fans of Frank Carson have paid tribute to the late comedian as his body returned to his home town.

The stand-up comic's open coffin, who died aged 85 after a battle with stomach cancer, was displayed in a funeral parlour in the area where he grew up in north Belfast, ahead of his funeral at the weekend.

Stars of screen and stage are set to attend his Requiem Mass on Saturday at St Patrick's Church, where he married his wife, Ruth, more than 60 years ago.

Among those who visited the funeral parlour to pay respects today were his brother, Paddy Carson, and nephew, Captain Breen Carson.

Capt Carson, 37, serves in the Canadian military. He said he was inspired to be a soldier by his Uncle Frank, who spent a number of years in the British Army before his big break in comedy.

"He was pretty proud of his service way back when and used to chat about it to me quite often," said Capt Carson, who wore his uniform to visit his uncle.

"He was such a friendly and welcoming man, so down-to-earth."

Capt Carson said he had been amazed by the number of people who had been in touch with the family to pass on condolences.

"He was a very well-loved person for all the things he did," he said.

"He never said a bad word about anybody. That's something to cherish - to live to 85 and to be liked all round is really something."

Paddy Carson, who emigrated to Canada in the 1970s, said his brother was most proud that, as a Catholic, he was able to attract many fans from the Protestant tradition during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

"He always strived to build bridges," he told the Press Association.

"He would do anything for anybody. He got involved with charitable groups at the drop of a hat."

The comic's coffin was put on display in his local church in Blackpool last weekend.

A short private reception was held for his family last Saturday when his remains arrived at St Kentigern's Roman Catholic Church.

Fans have also been leaving floral tributes on the Comedy Carpet in Blackpool, the town that came to be his adopted home.

One of Carson's catchphrases - "It's the way I tell 'em" - is immortalised in the visitor attraction on the resort's promenade.

Carson died peacefully at home surrounded by his family.