Festive tribute made to late Oldham comedian Bobby Ball

A FESTIVE tribute has been made in memory of the late Oldham-born comedian Bobby Ball as part of the town’s Reindeer Parade Trail this Christmas.

This heart-warming gesture, created by Oldham Theatre Workshop in partnership with Oldham Council, comes in the form of a specially decorated reindeer sculpture titled ‘Rain-deer’ – which now stands outside the Old Town Hall in his hometown.

The 76-year-old actor starred in the building’s grand opening back in 2016 having voiced the role ‘Grandpa’ during the event’s unveiling performance “On the Shoulders of Giants”.

And it’s here where the sculpture’s name originates as the local star, who famously played one half of the comedy duo ‘Cannon and Ball’, performed the line “If there was no rain, you’d never see a rainbow”.

Oldham Theatre Workshop, who were selected as one of 10 designers to decorate the sculptures, could think of no better way to pay their respects to the performer than to use his line as the inspiration behind their design.

James Atherton, Manager of Oldham Theatre Workshop said,Bobby Ball was a local legend and we were very saddened to hear of his recent passing.

“He made everyone smile and he always brought laughter to our screens.

“From his famous comedy act with Tommy Cannon to his performances on popular sitcoms such as Last of the Summer Wine – even his appearance on “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” – these are moments we will never forget.

“That is why we wanted our reindeer to pay tribute to his work and his lines in the opening of the Old Town Hall gave us the perfect inspiration.

“Whilst we live in unfamiliar times at the moment and the colder wet weather sets in, we all need a bit of hope.

“But with recent news on a vaccine, we are now starting to see that rainbow Bobby mentioned, so we hope our sculpture, in Bobby’s memory, makes everyone smile and reiterates that sense of hope.”

Bobby passed away in Blackpool at the end of October after testing positive for Coronavirus and leaves behind his wife Yvonne and his children Robert, Darren and Joanne.

Leader of Oldham Council, Councillor Sean Fielding said: “Bobby was a truly fantastic example of the talent we possess here in Oldham and he will be sorely missed by everyone.

“His performances on stage are legendary and we hope his work has inspired many of our young aspiring actors to follow in his footsteps.

“I want to thank Oldham Theatre Workshop for creating this lovely tribute as part of our Reindeer Parade Trail this Christmas and may I encourage you all to go and have a look at it in person safely with members of your household and bubbles over the holidays.”

For more information on Oldham’s Reindeer Parade Trail and what else is taking place across the borough this Christmas, please visit www.oldham.gov.uk/christmasinoldham

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