May 22 2013 Latest news:
By Marijke Cox, Reporter
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Star-studded event saw 1,200 people pack out Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre
More than 1,000 Dave Lee fans packed out the Marlowe Theatre this week for a star-studded show in memory of Kent’s favourite funnyman.
In what was a final farewell to the Canterbury comic, celebrity friends and colleagues took to the stage, with special performances from Jim Davidson, Joe Pasquale, Shaun Williamson, Bradley Walsh, Bobby Davro, Toyah Wilcox and Gerard Kenny.
Even Gillingham Football Club got involved, with the 30-strong squad and former manager Andy Hessenthaler performing a song written specially for the show by producer Paul Hendy, who worked closely with Dave in the Marlowe’s pantomimes.
And to top off what was described as a brilliant night, around £30,000 was raised for Dave Lee’s Happy Holidays.
The charity – set up by Dave 15 years ago – sends sick and underprivileged children on holiday and trips of a lifetime.
Mr Hendy said he was thrilled.
“It was a brilliant night. Everybody was entertained – it was both funny and poignant, which is what we aimed for,” he said.
“There was a great turnout of celebrities and there were about 1,200 people in the audience. I’m waiting for the official figure, but I think we raised about £30,000.”
Mr Hendy said everybody could feel Dave’s presence on the night.
“It felt like he was looking down on us,” he said.
“It was very emotional, at times there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Dave’s family were there and they were very moved by it.
“We also had a big projector showing images of Dave.”
Mr Hendy invited some of the country’s best pantomime dames – for which Dave was one, before his death – to perform as part of the show.
Dave had performed at The Marlowe in Canterbury more than 1,000 times over 16 years and was one of the county’s most loved characters.
He died in January aged 64 after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer.
More than 1,000 people packed out his funeral at Canterbury Cathedral, which included eulogies from his daughter Debbie Glew, comedians Richard Digance and Bobby Davro and readings from EastEnders actor John ‘Nasty Nick’ Altman and radio presenter Barbara Sturgeon.
Among the famous faces taking their seats in the cathedral were Shane Richie, Joe Pasquale, Neil ‘razor’ Ruddock and Jim Davidson.
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally was also among the dignitaries which included the Lord Mayor of Canterbury.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp, who had taken part on one of Dave’s charity golf days, also sent a floral tribute.