Lester is a barrel of laughs

Lester as his alter-ego, the wisecracking stand-up comic Lester Crabtree.
Lester as his alter-ego, the wisecracking stand-up comic Lester Crabtree.

When Lester Simpson is not pulling pints as owner of The Nib pub at Millhead, he’s performing all over the world as his alter-ego - stand-up comedian Lester Crabtree. Our entertainments editor GREG LAMBERT uncovers the Carnforth comic’s life of laughter.

LESTER Simpson’s dad was a bookmaker who named his son after the legendary jockey Lester Piggott.

Lester also has his father to thank for his love of performing. By night Brian Simpson was a touring pub and club singer, so entertainment is clearly in his family genes.

Brian’s stage name was Brian Driscoll and he worked with top stars of the day including Helen Shapiro, The Nolans and Alvin Stardust.

Then Carnforth-born Lester’s own entertainment career began in a similar vein.

After his parents split up, his mum Muriel moved to Aspatria in Cumbria and took over a pub, where the 18-year-old Lester had his own first taste of singing live.

“Entertainers would come in and I would sit in the crowd and sing along.

“One night a singer stuck a mic in my face and I sang. He went to the toilet and I carried on singing.

“I thought I could make some money out of it so I started to practice.

“My mum said: ‘You’re tone deaf!’ Maybe she didn’t want me to do it because of my dad.”

But Lester went on to follow in his father’s footsteps, touring the pub and club circuit as a vocalist for the next eight years.

“I won a few talent competitions.

“But it was hard and it wasn’t really for me. I found it very tough to stand on a stage and be serious.”

See The Visitor (28-02-12) for full story.