CHARITY LAUNCHED IN MEMORY OF COMEDY LEGEND BOBBY BALL

The charitable efforts of the late Bobby Ball will continue with the launch of a new charity in his name – The Bobby Ball Foundation.

The registered charity will support organisations Bobby was so passionate about along the Fylde coast.

And to launch it a weekend of spectacular events celebrating the life of the comedy legend is being planned to raise money for the foundation.

Bobby sadly died in October at the age of 76 after contracting Coronavirus.

Now his widow Yvonne has set up The Bobby Ball Foundation to raise money for the charities close to Bobby’s heart while also celebrating the very best of British variety.

Two star-studded events will be held at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens this November –  major stars of stage and screen will entertain with a variety performance in the splendid Opera House on Friday November 12, while a second night will see a spectacular “Bobby Ball” take place in the stunning Empress Ballroom on Saturday November 13.

The events will be organised through The Bobby Ball Foundation with all money raised given to Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion and Blue Skies Hospitals Fund – two organisations Bobby was an active patron and supporter of.

Money from the foundation will also be donated towards the cost of a Bobby Ball statue in Lytham’s Lowther Gardens. Fylde councillors have already given the green light to go ahead with the planning of a statue in Bobby’s memory, with more than £20,000 already raised towards its cost.

Speaking about the formation of The Bobby Ball Foundation, Yvonne said: “Bob was born to entertain and whether he was on stage or spending time with friends, it was always his mission to make people laugh. We are all devastated he has gone but we are lucky to have years of many happy and very funny memories.

“Bob was a huge personality and while he loved to perform he was also passionate about helping others. He would be absolutely honoured to know we have set up a charity foundation in his name and that we are planning two big fundraising events.

“Like Bob, these events are going to be filled with big personalities and we look forward to revealing more as final plans are put in place.”

Bobby was born and bred in Oldham where, in the 1960s, he met his life-long comedy partner Tommy Cannon when they both worked as welders.

They started out their careers as a singing duo but switched to comedy when they discovered, in Bobby’s words: “Comedy acts were paid a few quid more!” After years of hard work and playing working men’s clubs across the country the comedy duo Cannon and Ball eventually made them both household names entertaining TV viewers and live audiences from the 1970s onwards. Cannon and Ball enjoyed a hugely successful career as a double act and were loved and respected as singers too with a big part of their highly successful TV show regularly featuring the pair singing. More recently Bobby attracted a new generation of fans with TV dramas including Not Going Out and Mount Pleasant.

Bobby and Yvonne made the Fylde coast their home in recent years settling in Lytham where Bobby threw himself into being part of the community and getting involved and helping out where he could.

Yvonne added: “Bob loved living in Lytham, the whole of the Fylde coast had a special place in his heart as he and Tommy spent so much time here with their countless summer season shows in Blackpool.

“Bob was never one to sit and relax and when we came to Lytham he wanted to get as involved in the community as he could. Both Lowther Pavilion and Blue Skies Hospitals fund were two organisations he did as much as he could to help and he was proud to be involved with them.

“More than ever before, this past year has shown us how important it is to support charities where we can. Lowther Pavilion is a community theatre which relies on the public’s support and Blue Skies is an NHS charity providing extra facilities and amazing support for patients. Bob would be thrilled to know his legacy will help these charities and that we are working positively to make these events and The Bobby Ball Foundation a brilliant success.

“And the fact Bob’s fans called for a statue in his memory is something he would just be so delighted with. Fylde councillors voted unanimously to support the statue and, through the Foundation, we will help raise the money required for this wonderful and lasting tribute.”

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