Tributes to Norman Collier, Hull legend who 'lived to make people laugh'
THE family of the late comedian Norman Collier have paid tribute to a Hull legend who "lived to make people laugh".
Norman, 87, kept smiling throughout his seven-year battle with Parkinson's disease and died peacefully at Brough Manor Residential Care Home on Thursday night.
With a career spanning more than six decades, he was known as the "comedian's comedian" who inspired generations of comics.
He was famed for his faulty microphone routine and chicken impressions and was proud of his Hull roots.
His family have described him as a "kind, decent and hilarious man" who never courted fame or fortune.
Norman's daughter Karen and son-in-law John Ainsley said: "The man he was on stage was the same man he was in day-to-day life.
"We were all extremely close and there aren't any words to describe the love and adoration we had for him.
"He was loved by his fellow pros and was a humble man who had time for everyone.
"Norman never had any ambition to go to London. He loved Hull and would never phone for a gig – people called him purely because of his talent.
"He performed all over the world, in Canada, America and the Bahamas, and received a standing ovation at the London Palladium."
Tributes have poured in for the inspiring showman, from friends, fellow veteran comedians and even funnyman Ricky Gervais.
Norman, who was born on Christmas Day in 1925, passed away at 6.05pm with his family at his bedside after they had spent his final day with him.
John, 57, said: "We still didn't expect him to go that night but we found comfort in the fact he had his family with him.
"When he was first diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, he kept it quiet because he didn't want anybody to know. He was private in that way and started going to Sheffield for treatment.
"About 18 months ago, he had a fall at a family barbecue at our house and broke his hip. We noticed a change in him after that and his condition started to deteriorate."
More on Norman Collier
• Profile: Norman Collier, Hull's great funnyman
Norman lived in Welton, near Brough, with his wife Lucy, 85, who he met when she was just a teenager.
Karen and John said they were "devoted" to each other and were set to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary in August.
She has been at home coming to terms with the death of her beloved husband, with support from their three children Karen, 57, Victor, 63, and Janet, 61.
Norman also leaves behind grandchildren and great-grandchildren who all "adored him".
Councillor Danny Brown, Lord Mayor of Hull, said: "He was a traditional northern comic and one of Hull's comedy legends of his era who played in many of Hull's pubs and clubs and made it on to national TV.
"He will always be remembered for his 'faulty microphone' routine and chicken impressions and putting Hull on the map.
"Norman will be missed by many and our sympathies go out to his family at this time."
David Alexander, 74, of east Hull, had been a friend of Norman's since he was in his 20s.
He said: "I spoke to him just a few months ago and he was still cracking jokes and laughing.
"His wife Lucy would go and see him every day and I was very sad to hear he'd passed on.
"Norman was a lovely man with a smashing personality."