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Rolf Harris and Val Doonican: Old pals reunite
TWO OLD friends from the world of entertainment came together tonight to help support a charity for deprived children.
Musician, artist and television presenter Rolf Harris and singer Val Doonican were the star guests at a charity dinner event for Woodrow High House, Amersham, a training and activities centre for children.
The evening marked the end of 24 years at the helm for centre director Roy Hickman.
Mr Hickman said: “I’ve had over 24 years of wonderful support from the community who have really taken us to heart and to leave that behind is always going to be a wrench.
"I’m particularly grateful to Val and Rolf for coming here tonight.”
Val, who has supported the charity for around 20 years, asked his old pal, Rolf, to speak at the meal, which was held at Beaconsfield Golf Club, Seer Green.
The pair met working on BBC radio together in the 1960s.
The Irish entertainer, a television star in the 1960s and 1970s with The Val Doonican Show during said: “Roy has done such a fantastic job and they do so many wonderful things for young children.
“Some of them that have stayed had never seen the countryside before and it’s lovely for them, they enjoy the time they spend there.”
Rolf, whose television programme Rolf’s Carton Club was a huge hit with children in the 1980s and 1990s said: “ I have been a friend of Val’s since the 1960s since he did the BBC radio light programme.
“I used to listen to him and think if only I can be as composed as he is, if I could be a relaxed as that. I used to model myself on him.”
The Australian artist, from Bray, has re-recorded his number one hit ‘Two little boys’ that topped the charts from Christmas for seven weeks 40 years ago.
He is backed in this version by a welsh male voice choir called Fron.
The star of popular pet show Animal Hospital, which aired on BBC1 in the 1990s has also made a documentary for Armistice day on November 11 for the channel.
In it, he follows the footsteps of his father and uncle, both born in Wales, who went to Australia and joined the army during the first World War.
Rolf said it was a highly emotional journey making the film, visiting Ypres and Villers Bretonneux in Belgium where his father fought and 45,000 Australians lost their lives.
He said: “ When I was there we came across a school that was built by Australians.
"There’s a sign outside in English and French which reads ‘We will never forget the Australians’. It just moved me to tears.”
He said it was a great experience to make the programme but is disappointed with the path television has taken, in recent years: “I’m a bit sad that there doesn’t seem to be anything creative happening anymore, especially for children.”
The musician, whose performing talents uniquely include the ‘wobble board’ and didgeridoo said he is also unimpressed by some modern day entertainment acts - particularly two who have dominated the national headlines this week .
He said it was right Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross had faced punishment: “ I think it’s important to put some sort of a rein on people that feel they are beyond common decency.”