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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 March, 2004, 14:51 GMT
Swansea honours Sir Harry
Fred Secombe and Lady Myra Secombe

The late Sir Harry Secombe has been honoured in Swansea with a memorial service and blue plaque at the church where he was a young chorister.

Well-known entertainers including comedian Eric Sykes and actress Ruth Madoc joined more than 200 people at St Thomas's parish church close to where the entertainer grew-up.

His brother Fred and widow Lady Myra then unveiled the first Heritage Foundation blue plaque to be erected in Wales.

It read "Sir Harry Secombe CBE 1921-2001. Goon comedian and singer who served here as a boy chorister."

I'm a bit sad but I did thoroughly enjoy the service
Lady Myra Secombe

The Goon Show legend died from cancer at the age of 79 and had battled against ill-health for many years.

The world famous Morriston Orpheus Choir, of which Sir Harry was Vice President, sang during the service which also saw Fred, a vicar, pay his own personal tribute.

"Harry was very proud to be a choir boy here," he said.

"He gave people a lot of happiness. I'm proud to be able to stand up here and say I'm his brother."

The atmosphere was humorous as the congregation lovingly remembered the singer, actor, comedian and television presenter.

Anita Harris sang a Song to Remember and Sir Harry's former colleague Wyn Calvin reminisced about his friend.

The plaque
The plaque is the first erected by the Heritage Foundation in Wales

Sir Harry was loved by millions for the pioneering radio show, which also starred Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. The Prince of Wales was among their most prominent fans.

He was also known for his tenor singing voice which could be heard on the religious TV programmes he presented, such as Highway and Songs of Praise.

Outside the church, Mr Sykes, said: "I'm very happy to be here.

"I would not have missed this because Harry and Myra have been my friends for as a long as I can remember."

He then joked with the crowd: "The one thing I would like to say about the plaque is Harry is going to have to read it upside down."

Lady Myra told BBC Wales it had been an emotional morning.

"I love coming back to Wales and having it (the service) here where Harry was a chorister is special.

"He would have loved it of course.

"I'm a bit sad but I did thoroughly enjoy the service."

Other well known faces in the crowd included actor Phillip Madoc, comedian Stan Stennett and radio and television personality Roy Noble.

The ceremony was due to be followed by a charity luncheon which was to include a sale and auction of memorabilia.

Last year blue plaques were unveiled outside the Opera House theatre in Manchester in honour of Sir Harry and Roy Castle. Both men had appeared there on several occasions.

The life of Sir Harry was celebrated in 2001 at a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey.


SEE ALSO:
Swansea tribute to Sir Harry
22 Jan 04  |  South West Wales
Secombe the 'clown' remembered
26 Oct 01  |  Entertainment
Picture gallery: Sir Harry Secombe
11 Apr 01  |  Entertainment


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