The entertainer, who died aged 90 in March 2018, insisted the fortune was to spent by hospitals, health charities and other foundations, reports Liverpool Echo. Sir Ken’s widow, Lady Anne Dodd, today revealed the extent of the comedian’s genorsity in an emotional interview.
Clatterbridge Hospital, an NHS facility in Bebington, Merseyside, received around £10million of Sir Ken’s fortune. Doctors there cared for his previous fiancee Anita who had a brain tumour.
Lady Anne said: “He got involved with Clatterbridge because his previous fiancee had been treated there, and he did a lot for Cancer Research and Macmillan.
“I said what’s on your bucket list and they said a radio and television in every room and so he’s done that, I’m very pleased with that.
“If he was asked to do something, his answer would be ‘if i’m free I’ll do it’.
“Sometimes I’d say ‘you’re in your 80s now, it would be easier to give money’ and he said no you need to give your time and you’re only doing it if you’re giving yourself and your time, he said that’s much more precious.”
Lady Anne has penned a new intimate biography of Sir Ken, called The Squire of Knotty Ash and his Lady. The entertainer lived in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, all his life.
The book, written by Ken’s wife and Tony Nicholson, gives the first ever in-depth account of Sir Ken’s story and insights into the private man who Lady Anne spent her life with.
It also touches on his love of the theatre, his larger-than-life stage persona and how it was always important for him to do charitable work.
Lady Anne added: “In his will, there was a lot of money left but he’d already started his Ken Dodd foundation because over his lifetime he never craved the trappings of wealth he lived a life comfortable at home in the same house he was virtually born in.
“He just loved living here. That’s why I’m still living here. I’ve got 40/50 years of memories here , why would I move?”
The book reads: “A significant donation has also been made to the new Clatterbridge Hospital and Cancer Centre, to equip 110 bedrooms with televisions and radios.
“Clatterbridge was always one of Ken’s favourite charities, as they had cared for fiancée Anita at the end of her life.”
The book goes on to explain how Sir Ken’s charitable foundation, run by Lady Anne, will help Liverpool Cathedral, among other Merseyside institutions.
It adds: “Anne, together with the trustees, is planning to help fund some modernisation to the entrance of the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, making it more wheelchair-friendly.
“She gets terribly excited when she talks about all these projects and clearly loves being able to help. The cathedral I suppose holds a very special place in her heart, as they gave Ken such a magnificent send-off.”
Lady Anne, who still lives in the home in Knotty Ash, continued: “It’s a great way of continuing a legacy, it did give him pleasure if he knew he’d done something really useful.
“I know he was pleased when they were building the new hospital right in the centre because anybody having treatment had to go over the water, over the years we’ve helped with different theatres.
“For instance New Brighton (theatre) got done up and he was very honoured to do the last show in the previous building and the first show in the new building.”
Speaking about the legendary comedian’s efforts to set up a charity before he died, Lady Anne said: “He did set it up before he died but we didn’t have much time to get into projects.
“We just about completed this work on our church hall which his money has completely renovated.
“It’s Knotty Ash St John’s Church, it was the school he went to, his infant and primary school so it was very appropriate
“I remember him saying we must do something to that church.”
The Squire of Knotty Ash… and his Lady – An intimate biography of Sir Ken Dodd by Tony Nicholson with Anne, Lady Dodd, is published by Great Northern Books, and available to buy now.