Comic Catherine takes serious role as charity patron
COMIC star Catherine Tate has a new role.
The comedienne famed for her role as troubled teenager Lauren - with her "Am I bovvered?" catchphrase - is to help a Huddersfield-based charity.
She has agreed to become a patron of the Laura Crane Trust.
The trust was set up a decade ago after teenager Laura, a student in Huddersfield, died from a rare mix of cancers.
Since then her mother, Jacquie Roeder, has campaigned tirelessly to raise money to help other teenage cancer sufferers.
And it was Jacquie's efforts that persuaded Catherine Tate to get involved.
She was staying at a Huddersfield hotel while filming in the North and picked up a magazine featuring the Laura Crane Trust.
"It was purely an emotional reaction to what I read," said the star.
"I was so moved by what Jacquie had done since her daughter's death that I had to find out more.
"In the hotel reception there was a leaflet about the trust's work and I felt obliged to ring them and ask if there was any way in which I could help.
"I arranged to meet Jacquie and Pam Thornes, one of the fundraisers, and agreed to be a patron.
"Obviously, any story involving a child's death is very moving.
"But there was something extra about Laura's story.
"I was blown away by the fact that someone who has lost a loved one can put so much into a campaign to help others.
"I must admit it was the most incredible thing and I am determined to do all I can, even if it may only be a small drop in the ocean."
The comic, a graduate of the Central School of Speech and Drama and the National Theatre, is one of the superstars of the comic world.
She spent a year with the Royal Shakespeare Company before turning to stand-up comedy.
She appeared with comics Harry Hill and Lee Mack before starring in her own one-woman show at the Edinburgh Festival in 2001.
She had bit parts in TV satire shows, including work with Dawn French, before being asked to do her own series, The Catherine Tate Show, for BBC2.
She revived the characters that had brought her success in Edinburgh, including Lauren and the cockney granny who turns out to be a foul-mouthed racist.
In reality, Tate is a very polite and friendly woman who is often asked to help charities.
Her decision to join Huddersfield actress Zoe Lucker as a patron of the Laura Crane Trust is the first time she has lent her name to such a group.
"It seemed to me such a personal tragedy. Lots of charities have asked me to help and I try to do so when I can.
"But now I want to do everything possible to help Jacquie with the trust. You can only be a patron if you are prepared to give time and effort and become very involved.
"I just felt very moved to take part."
Tate is currently filming Bad Mother's Handbook, for an ITV1 adaptation which is expected to go out in the spring.
Shows of her comedy series are being screened at the moment and she is also working on a DVD with other stars for Comic Relief.
"I love every aspect of the business, but my real love is the theatre," she said.
"Doing TV and film is fun, but I prefer a live audience.
"I'm a bit of a show-off!"