THE voice of golf Peter Alliss joined in the many tributes paid to comedian Ronnie Corbett, who died last week aged 85.
Friends of the veteran comedian have been been calling this week for a memorial service to commemorate the entertainer’s legendary life.
Corbett’s passion was golf and one of his best friends was the man who led the BBC’s golf coverage for decades and got to know the comic very well as he was a major figure on the pro-am celebrity circuit that raises hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity each year.
In February 2011, Ronnie was a guest of honour at the legendary golfer’s 80th birthday celebrations, held at Old Thorns Manor Hotel, Griggs Green.
In a personal tribute to his long-time friend, Mr Alliss, from Hindhead, said: “Ronnie Corbett has been a family friend for more than 50 years, since the late 60s. We met at Gleneagles at a pro-celebrity golf event.
“He was always busy and bustling, and his wife Anne is a delight, I love them both dearly.
“I love the way he dressed – he definitely had his own style with his slightly too big cashmere jumpers, open neck shirts, colourful jackets and big glasses.
“Ronnie was very funny – and he never swore. He had a gift for telling a story, his rambles in the chair were not jokes, just tales and he used his hands to underline everything.
“Despite his size, he was in proportion, dinky – like a Hornby train set – everything perfect and to size. His signet ring, his watch, the length of his cuffs – he always joked that he got his clothes from Mothercare – but it all suited his persona and it suited his size!
“Above all he was a family man and the role Anne played was very important.
“Ronnie loved his golf and loved the privacy golf gave him, and the fact other golfers were not bothered by who he was.
“I loved him best in The Two Ronnies – both of them wore glasses but they were very different. Ronnie Barker wore terrible jackets and Ronnie Corbett colourful ones – but they just fitted each other and worked perfectly together, just a perfect match.
“It is sometimes very hard to be famous – people can become very annoying, but Ronnie put up with it all, he did not mind.
“He was everybody’s friend – he had a kind word for everybody and I loved him dearly.”
Mr Corbett was awarded a CBE in 2012 and discovered to his delight the Queen was a fan of The Two Ronnies which aired from 1971-1987, in a TV career that lasted more than 40 years.
He appeared in countless charity tournaments including the Harry Secombe Golf Classic and boosted funds during his presidency of the Lord’s Taverners between 1982 and 1987.
He published a Small Man’s Guide to Life and Armchair Golf and also loved cooking and woodworking. Ronnie was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and married actress and dancer Anne Hart on May 30, 1966. She survives him with their two daughters Emma and Sophie.
They also had a son, Andrew, who died after just six weeks in 1966.