Comedian Frank Carson was a child at heart who just wanted to have fun and give fun, his son has said.
Tony Carson paid a heartfelt tribute to his father, who died on Wednesday at the age of 85 at his home in Blackpool, Lancashire.
Mr Carson said the family felt it was only right that the Northern Ireland-born comic was buried in his home town of Belfast.
“He was good dad, right up to the end he was very good,” said his son.
“He just had such a positive outlook on everything. There was definitely a child within and he just wanted to have fun and give fun to everybody.”
Immortalised as one of the “jolly jesters” of British comedy, the stand-up had been suffering from stomach cancer.
His son said: “He also loved just to talk with people, you could always see a smile on his face. I think that’s what kept him going so long, really – laughter is the best exercise for the heart, so they say. He certainly got some exercise for his.
“We have to take him home, that’s where he came from and that’s where he gets the roots of his humour – that sort of Belfast dry wit, no respect for anything or everybody but respect at the same time.
“So we’ve got to take him back there and celebrate the great life that he had.”
The showbusiness world yesterday remembered Carson, who coined the catchphrase “It’s a cracker”. He rose to fame in the 1960s after winning talent show Opportunity Knocks three times. He went on to appear in The Comedians and Tiswas.
His friend and television presenter Eamonn Holmes said: “The term legend is often overused – but Frank Carson was a legend and we will never ever see his like again. I knew him since I was a child because he was a friend of my father.”
Comedian Ken Dodd described his “good friend” as a “jolly jester” who had the “fantastic gift of making people happy”.
Dodd added: “He was a wonderful comedian, a fabulous jolly jester and had a fantastic gift of making people feel happy. His humour was always mainstream – he didn’t do dirty or obscene comedy.”
Born in Belfast on November 6 1926 to a family of Italian descent, the son of a binman grew up in the Little Italy area of the city and worked as a plasterer and electrician before joining the Parachute Regiment.
He served three years in the Middle East in the 1950s before turning to showbusiness.
Spotted for his stand-up work, he was a popular performer on Irish television before moving to England.
He continued to perform his stand-up show until last December.