A former Harrogate student who has become one of the UK’s most successful up-and-coming comedians, says she wants to do much-missed St Aidan’s schoolboy Frank Ashton “proud” at a comedy night being held in his memory.
Maisie Adam says the emphasis, when she returns to her former school, St Aidan’s High School in Harrogate, next month will be on reflecting on the fun side of Frank, who died from bone cancer this year at the age of just 14.
The former head girl, now a star on shows such as BBC TV’s Mock the Week and Channel 4’s 8 out of 10 Cats, said “Frank was a brilliant young lad who had a real zest for life.
“He was always fun and cheerful, and he loved comedy.
“He was known for his quirky sense of humour and his quick wit – he was always making people laugh.
“One of his favourite comedians was James Acaster, who I share an agent with. We want the night to raise loads of money, but we also want to do the right thing by him.
“We have got to do him proud.”
The Comedy and Curry night at St Aidan’s Constance Green Hall on Friday, September 9 will be the first time Maisie has returned to her old school since winning top prize in So You Think You’re Funny at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017 catapulted her in to the top tier of UK comedy.
All proceeds from the evening will go to Frank’s Fund, a special fund set up at the Bone Cancer Research Charity by Frank’s mum, Louise; dad Mike and sister, Maisy; after Frank’s death from Ewing’s Sarcoma in February.
Frank’s mum, Louise, says that Frank remained positive and upbeat throughout an exhausting three years of treatment which included over 20 cycles of chemotherapy and eight weeks of radiotherapy as well as six weeks of Proton therapy in the United States.
Maisie, who only started having a “go” at stand-up on stage in 2016, five years after leaving St Aidan’s School, said it was important to raise awareness of Ewing’s Sarcoma and raise money for desperately needed research.
The disease makes up about 1.5% of all childhood cancers.
Maisie said” It’s shocking that so little resource and investment goes in to Ewing’s sarcoma. Bone cancer receives no government funding at all and receives virtually nothing from the leading UK cancer charities. Last year just four pence in every £100 went to bone cancer. Investment is actually dropping – in 2018 the investment dropped to a 16 year low.
“Survival rates and treatment protocols haven’t improved in nearly 40 years.”
Tables are being sold for the event which also features fellow successful comedians Rosie Jones and Barbara Nice - and a curry.
Maisie said: “Frank loved a curry so it makes sense to combine two of his favourite things in to one great evening!”
Maisie said she wasn’t surprised to hear from Frank’s family how supportive St Aidan’s have been of Frank’s Fund.
She said: “I’m not remotely surprised the school has been so fantastic. It’s the school I knew and loved.
“I was gutted to miss the school’s 50th anniversary celebrations earlier this year and I can’t wait to go back and see everyone again”.
To find out more about Frank’s Fund or to make a donation go to www.bcrt.org.uk/FranksFund or text BCRT FRANK to 70800 to donate £5.