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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Actor Don Estelle buried
Don Estelle
Estelle enjoyed both an acting and singing career
It Ain't Half Hot Mum actor Don Estelle has been buried at a ceremony attended by former co-stars, alongside the army helmet he wore in the comedy series.

The diminutive actor and singer died earlier this month after a long illness at the age of 70.

The funeral was held in Estelle's home town of Rochdale, near Manchester.

Mourners at the service included comic Jimmy Cricket, who gave a reading, and former MP Sir Cyril Smith, according to the Daily Mirror.

Estelle, who was just 4ft 9ins (145cm) tall, had asked to be buried with the pith helmet he wore to play the character of gunner Lofty Sugden in the 1970s series It Ain't Half Hot Mum.

The helmet was placed upon the coffin as it was carried into the service by the pall-bearers.

Sir Cyril said: "I was proud to have known him."

Estelle starred in the comedy series, which was set in Burma during World War II, for eight years.

As well as acting, Estelle also had a number one hit song with Whispering Grass, dueting with co-star Windsor Davies, who played the bullying sergeant-major in the show.

Touring

Born in Manchester, Estelle's career started in the choir of Holy Trinity Church in the town of Darwen, Lancashire, where he had been evacuated to during World War II.

He developed his music and comedic talents, touring first in the north of England club circuit, then throughout the UK when he teamed up with Windsor Davies.

He toured New Zealand and Australia repeatedly in the 1990s and continued to appear on stage in the UK.

In late 1999, he started recording a reworking on CD of the classic Laurel and Hardy movie song Trail of the Lonesome Pine, featuring Sir Cyril Smith.

Estelle recently had a cameo appearance in the cult TV comedy The League of Gentlemen.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Don Estelle singing on It Ain't Half Hot Mum




SEE ALSO:
Actor Don Estelle dies
02 Aug 03  |  Entertainment


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