Kent

Cathedral funeral for Kent comic and panto star Dave Lee

Dave Lee
Image caption Dave Lee was born in Broadstairs and began his showbiz career at the age of 13

The funeral of the Kent comedian and pantomime star Dave Lee is to be held at Canterbury Cathedral next Monday, two weeks after his death from cancer.

Lee, 64, starred in more than 1,000 pantomime performances over 16 years at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.

His funeral will be a full civic event attended by the Lord Mayor of Canterbury and councillors.

On Tuesday, Lee will be posthumously awarded the Freedom of the City in a ceremony to be held at the Guildhall.

'Life and achievements'

It was announced before his death from pancreatic cancer that he was to receive the honour on 31 January.

Canterbury City Council said it had been decided that the ceremony would still go ahead following discussions with his family.

Chief executive Colin Carmichael said: "It will be the first time we have made someone a Freeman posthumously, so there will have to be some modifications to the process... but it will retain as much of the usual ceremony as possible."

He added that the event would be a celebration of Lee's "life and achievements".

His charity, Dave Lee's Happy Holidays, was formed in 1994, raising more than £2m, and enabled thousands of Kent-based sick, disabled and under-privileged children and their immediate families to enjoy holidays and outings.

In 2003, Lee was awarded the MBE.

'Warm-up man'

Lee was born in Broadstairs and began his showbiz career at the age of 13 as a drummer at Chartham Secondary Modern School.

He began his television career as a warm-up man for Michael Parkinson, Michael Aspel and Jimmy Tarbuck.

Lee appeared in shows including The Generation Game, Celebrity Squares, Live from the Palladium, and hosted his own golfing series.

He was a non-executive director of Gillingham Football Club and a member of the Grand Order of the Water Rats.

A charity gala night, organised at the Tower Theatre in Folkestone on Sunday 29 January by Kent Police, will still go ahead, with performances by Richard Digance, Alvin Stardust and Victoria Yellop.

Lee had been due to attend the event, which will raise money for good causes, including his Happy Holidays charity.

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