A HOST of Britain’s Got Talent stars are coming to Basingstoke for a fundraising event in memory of a father-of-three who died suddenly. 

Laughing for Lee will be held at Oakridge West Community Centre on Saturday, March 23 from 7.45pm, organised by former Britain’s Got Talent finalist Steve Hewlett, who has known Lee since they went to school together in Basingstoke.

Lee died unexpectedly in his sleep aged 48 on February 25 and a fundraising page set up by his sister Vicky has so far raised more than £1,200.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Lee North with his sister VickyShe said: “We are still unsure of the whys and hows and it has come as such as big shock for us all. We never got to say goodbye and the heartbreak is unbearable.”

The fundraising page will be used to help towards the costs of Lee’s funeral.

Steve, who grew up in Basingstoke with Lee and went on to perform in the final of the seventh series of Britain’s Got Talent with his ventriloquism act, is hoping to boost the final figure with his fundraising event. 

The 48-year-old said he lived opposite Lee in Osborne Close, Oakridge, as a young boy and they would wave to each other from their bedroom windows at night.

After hearing of his friend’s death, Steve said: “It’s just a shock. You never stop thinking about your school friends and he was my best mate. It’s very sad.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Lee North in his younger years“Every time I visited my family, I saw him and we grew up on the same estate. We were so close. We went to school together and did paper rounds together.”

Steve, who went to Oakridge Junior School, the Vyne School and Queen Mary’s College with Lee, remembers the first show he performed at The Vyne School in front of 150 children during an assembly in 1988, and said Lee opened the curtains for him.

Basingstoke Gazette: Steve Hewlett performing as a young boyHe also remembered performing in a comedy sketch with Lee who sang Abba’s song Money, Money, Money.

He is hoping people will come along to support the comedy show, which will include appearances from other Britain’s Got Talent stars including impressionist Drew Cameron and magician Mark Shortland.

“I just know this is all I can do – what I do in this business I can raise money,” said Steve, adding: “I got in touch with his sister and said ‘if there’s anything I can do’ and when I say that I mean it. It will be a night to celebrate his life and enjoy a great night of comedy.”

To donate visit gofundme.com/f/lee-north-gone-too-soon.

Or to buy tickets to Laughing for Lee visit ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/hants/oakridge-west-community-association/comedy-night-laughing-for-lee/e-azdbry.