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Stars shine to honour panto legend Dave Lee


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Panto dames turn out for tribute show to Dave Lee
Panto dames turn out for tribute show to Dave Lee

Ten of the country's top panto dames turned out for a tribute show to star Dave Lee. Picture: Ian Pollen

by Sian Napier

The life of the late comic Dave Lee has been celebrated in a star-studded show at Canterbury's Marlowe Theatre.

Performers who had known or worked with the Canterbury comedian, who died in January aged 64, turned up to take part in a four-hour extravaganza featuring songs, comedy and fun on Sunday evening.

Dave Lee as Baron Hardup in Cinderella at the Marlowe Theatre
Dave Lee as Baron Hardup in Cinderella at the Marlowe Theatre

Produced by Paul Hendy, who had worked with Mr Lee in numerous pantomimes at the Marlowe, the show featured appearances from Jim Davidson, Joe Pasquale, Bradley Walsh, Bobby Davro, Shaun Williamson, Toyah Wilcox, Emma Barton, Gerard Kenny and Jess Conrad.

There was also a 10-piece orchestra on stage and the 30-man squad from Gillingham Football Club sang a song specially rewritten by Mr Hendy.

"The night was a great success and a testament to how popular Dave was, both with the audience and the showbusiness community," Mr Hendy said.

"All the performers gave their services free and the money raised by the show will go to Dave's Happy Holidays charity.

"It was a wonderful evening and I think it will be one of those nights people will remember for a long time. Dave was a big man with a big heart and it was an emotional occasion."

Mr Hendy, who co-hosted the show with Joe Pasquale, had video footage of Mr Lee running on a big screen during the singing of some of the numbers.

"Although it was very much a celebration of Dave's life, at times I don't think there was a dry eye in the house," Mr Hendy said.

"However, there was a lot of comedy so people had a good time as well. Dave was such a unique guy."

Ex-EastEnders' star Shaun Williamson appears in Dave Lee tribute show
Ex-EastEnders' star Shaun Williamson appears in Dave Lee tribute show

Ex-EastEnders' star Shaun Williamson appears in Dave Lee tribute show. Picture: Ian Pollen

Mr Hendy also arranged for 10 of the country's top Dames to appear on stage together as part of the celebration.

Mr Lee died from cancer just a fortnight before he was due to be given the freedom of Canterbury.

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