Phil Walker's delight that his appearance at Bobby Ball tribute gig to be followed by tour with Jason Manford

Lytham funnyman Phil Walker had the perfect follow-up to a dream appearance on the Blackpool bill paying tribute to legend Bobby Ball - the opportunity to tour with another of his favourite comedians, Jason Manford.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 6:24 pm

Phil said he was “very emotional” at taking to the stage of the Blackpool Opera House earlier this month for the Bobby Ball Foundation’s Rock On Variety Show, which was hosted by Jason and saw a host of stars, including Tommy Cannon, performing in tribute to Bobby, who died last year, aged 76, after contracting coronavirus.

That night, and the ball which followed in the Empress Ballroom 24 hours later, raised around £150,000, which will be split between the Blue Skies Hospital Appeal at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and the Love Lowther appeal to refurbish Lytham’s theatre, as well as ensuring a statue of Bobby will be placed in Lowther Gardens.

Phil hosts regular Woofers comedy club sessions at Lowther Pavilion, with the latest coming up on Thursday, November 25, and Bobby provided great encouragement, regularly dropping in to check out the gigs and have a chat.

Phil Walker on stage at the Rock On Variety Show

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“It was an honour and a privilege to share the Opera House stage with many other talented entertainers to celebrate the life and legacy of dear friend Bobby,” said Phil.

“One of my favourite memories of Bobby was when he invited me to his house and gave me a comedy panto masterclass for the whole afternoon – a priceless memory that I will cherish forever.

“It was amazing that £150,000 has been raised and I was Incredibly lucky to be able to perform in such a beautiful theatre in front of 3,000 people,

“I came off stage on such a high but of course great sadness that Bobby is no longer with us.

“The very next day, I was thrilled to see a social media post from Jason Manford saying ‘If you look in your local comedy club listings and ever see @Philwalkercomic listed – get a ticket. One of the funniest acts out there. Great to work with him again’.

“That made my day, but then to get a call asking would I like to join him on some of his tour dates in 2022 just blew my mind.

“To top my weekend off, me and my good friend Steve Royle headed off to London to perform in David Slattery-Christy’s Naturally Insane, a play about the late, great panto star Dan Leno, which was staged in Lytham in the summer.

“Performing two shows at the Criterion Theatre, Leicester Square alongside Steve, John Thomson, Neil Rowland, Janet Maher and Nicole Violet will be something I will remember for ever.”

Phil can be seen in pantomime this festive season playing Silly Simon in Robin Hood Phil can be seen in pantomime playing Silly Simon in Robin Hood alongside Tristan Gemmill, Matthew Kelly, Matt Terry, Jodie Prenger and Flawless from December 11 to January 9.

But first, it’s the final Woofers comedy session of the year at Lowther on Thursday, with Phil the compere and featuring Marcus Birdman, Nina Gilligan and Eddie Brimson. Ticket details at www.lowtherpavillion.co.uk