Sir Ken Dodd: Fans to say farewell at comedian's Liverpool funeral

Fans of Sir Ken Dodd are expected to line the streets of Liverpool later to pay their respects to the comedian.

The much-loved funnyman, famous for his Diddy Men and tickling stick, died at the age of 90 earlier this month.

Members of the public have been asked to line the route of the funeral procession. A horse-drawn hearse will travel the six miles from Knotty Ash to Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.

The funeral service will begin at 13:00 BST. A private interment will follow.

Fans are welcome at the service and a large screen will be outside the cathedral for those who cannot be accommodated inside. BBC Radio Merseyside will broadcast the service live.

The first fan to arrive at the cathedral was Samuel Ball from Stoke-on-Trent, who got there at 05:30 BST. He said: “I want to pay my respects and say thank you for a last time to my hero.”

Meanwhile, tickling sticks like those Sir Ken famously waved were positioned on statues and public buildings in the city on Tuesday in his honour.

Sir Ken, one of Britain’s most recognisable entertainers, was born in 1927 in the suburb of Knotty Ash.

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The funeral cortege will begin near his home just after 11:00 BST. The choice of a horse-drawn hearse is a tribute to Sir Ken’s father Arthur, who worked as a coal merchant.

Sir Ken died just days after marrying Anne Jones, his partner of 40 years, at their home.

Speaking to the BBC’s North West Tonight, she said the support she had received from Sir Ken’s fans had been “unbelievable”.

“I couldn’t have imagined it would be as it has been,” she said. “We’ve had a tremendous amount of flowers.”

She attributed that in part to the “tremendous empathy” her husband had had “with people he knew and people he didn’t know”.

She told North West Tonight’s Roger Johnson: “You look at [the messages] and you know there’s so much love there. He loved his audience and he loved what he did.”

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, remembered Sir Ken as “the ultimate showman, a truly unique performer and a wonderful ambassador for Liverpool”.

He said last week: “Although Wednesday will be a sombre occasion, it is an opportunity for us all to pay tribute to an unforgettable man.”

Flags at the Town Hall, St George’s Hall, Cunard Building and Central Library will be lowered for the day as a mark of respect.

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