Peter Kay, 44, who made a shock appearance in Blackpool on Saturday
A grieving mother has thanked Peter Kay for raising £34,000 for her charity after he made a shock appearance at a screening of his hit comedy Car Share, calling him ‘a real star’.
The comedian had not been seen since cancelling his sell-out UK tour due to ‘unforeseen family circumstances’.
But the 44-year-old stunned fans by appearing on stage at Blackpool Opera house on Saturday night as new episodes of his sitcom Car Share were aired.
The Bolton-born Phoenix Nights star told the delighted crowd at the special fundraiser: ‘Thanks for coming!’
And now campaigner Liz Curtis from Warlingham, Surrey, has thanked Kay for raising a staggering £34,000 for her charity The Lily Foundation.
Liz, 43, set up the charity in 2007 to raise awareness of incurable mitochondrial disease, an inherited chronic illness.
Her eight-month-old daughter Lily died from the condition, which causes physical, developmental, cognitive and learning disabilities, organ failure and seizures.
‘We can’t thank Peter and his team enough for this incredibly generous donation. For a small charity like ours this is a very significant sum,’ Liz said on Tuesday night.
‘It will make a real difference to the lives of children with mitochondrial disease by providing vital equipment and care that improves the quality of their lives.
Peter Kay thanks fans for coming to his Car Share screening in Blackpool on Saturday
The star delighted fans with his unexpected appearance since releasing a cryptic statement postponing his UK tour
‘The coverage on national news and on social media has also been a huge boost.
‘Not only has it helped raise awareness, it has also given hope and encouragement to all the ordinary families who live with this devastating condition every day.’
She added: ‘I know I speak for all our families in thanking Peter from the bottom of our hearts. He’s shown once again what a real star he is.’
Kay (left) and Sian Gibson in his BBC hit show Car Share, which first aired in 2015. Fans demanded a different ending after the characters parted ways in the script
Kay, married to Susan Gargan since 2001, has not been seen in public since putting out a mysterious statement last Christmas postponing his tour.
It read: ‘Due to unforeseen family circumstances, I deeply regret that I am having to cancel all of my upcoming work projects.
‘This includes my upcoming stand-up tour, Dance for Life shows and any outstanding live work commitments.
‘I’m sure you’ll understand that my family must always come first. Once again, I’m very sorry.’
Peter Kay in his sitcom Phoenix Nights which follows the goings-on at a northern working mens’ club
Talking last week about the worthy work the Lily Foundation do, Kay said in a statement: ‘The Lily Foundation is an inspiring charity that helps to improve the lives of children with Mitochondrial Disease.
‘I’ve had first-hand experience of the Foundation’s work.
‘I’m proud to raise both awareness and much needed funds to help with the inspiring work they provide to children and their families.’
Kay was said to have earned £20million in record ticket sales and DVD revenues from his last tour eight years ago, when tickets averaged around £35 a head.
His sitcom Car Share first aired on the BBC in 2015 and ran for two seasons.
It shows the hilarious journeys to and from work of assistant manager John, played by Kay, and promotions rep Kayleigh, played by Sian Gibson.
The audience in Blackpool were shown an unscripted episode and a new series two finale, which will be broadcast later this year on BBC One.
Fans were left devastated when the second series ended with Kayleigh stepping out of John’s car and his life forever.
More than 100,000 people signed a petition demanding another ending.
WHAT IS MITOCHONDRIAL DISEASE?
In nearly every cell in the body, mitochondria are responsible for producing energy.
When a person has mitochondrial disease, the mitochondria in the cells are not producing enough energy.
The parts of the body commonly affected are those that have the highest energy demands, such as brain, muscle, liver, heart and kidney.
It causes physical, developmental, cognitive and learning disabilities, organ failure and seizures.
A cure has not yet been found and treatment is usually supportive, relieving the symptoms that can develop.