Goodbye to Yarmouth entertainer

MOURNERS have said their goodbyes to a popular entertainer whose larger-than-life characters entertained audiences for decades.

More than 300 people packed into St Andrews Church, Gorleston, for the funeral of Steve Ace, who died following a long illness.

In a ceremony filled with laughter and tears, the mourners recounted tales and gave two standing ovations to the comic who was renowned for his performances at the Gorleston Pavilion Theatre.

His wife Jude Gleason, 47, described the funeral on Thursday December 1 as “a difficult day, but also an amazing day.”

She said: “It was like a show for him. We called it a celebration of his life.

“It must have seemed strange in a way because we were crying and laughing at the same time - we just wanted to smile for him.”

During the service, conducted by Cpt Nigel Byrne of the Salvation Army, people were encouraged to reflect on their memories of the entertainer while the Lord is My Shepherd was played in church.

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Meanwhile, tributes poured in after the funeral, with friends leaving anecdotes and words of praise on his Facebook page.

A message from his wife and two children in the order of service read: “No words can describe the utter devastation that both myself and the boys have felt or the sheer anger and frustration that has passed over us.

“However, counteracting this is our love, respect and admiration of Steve that has been so consoling almost to the point of being overwhelming.”

Originally from London, Mr Ace, 50, of Great Yarmouth, moved to Norfolk as a teenager where his parents ran the Marine pub on the Yarmouth seafront.

He performed as a magician and even opened his own deli diner on Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, called the Bizness.

His work at Pleasurewood Hills saw him create and perform in numerous shows alongside Mr Blobby and Noel Edmonds.

But he was best known for his comic performances as the pantomime dame in hundreds of panto productions across Norfolk.

He is survived by his widow, his sons Ben, 25, and Stephen, 24, and two granddaughters Evie, one, and Alexa, three.

Donations at the funeral were made to the Haemochromatosis Society.