LUDLOW Fringe which attracts thousands of people from all over the country and beyond will pay tribute to a great supporter when it begins next month, - as the first Fringe Festival will be held since the death of John Challis.

The comedy legend and national treasure, best known for his portrayal of Boycie in Only Fools and Horses, was a patron of the festival and often quoted Ludlow as one of his favourite places.

He died in September last year, aged 79, from cancer.

The actor lived near Leintwardine, on the Shropshire border, and once performed at Ludlow Castle in one of the festival’s Shakespeare plays.

This year the three-wheeled Trotters Independent Trading van, famous from the TV show he brought to life as the cigar smoking used car salesman character, will be parading in the carnival on June 18 and promoting the Soap Box Derby which will take place the following week, on June 26, on Hanway Common in Richards Castle.

It will be on the Ludlow Town Square after the carnival and visitors will be welcome to take pictures with it.

“I know that John would have been really touched by this gesture,” said Mr Challis’s widow Carol Challis.

“He fell in love with Ludlow when we moved to the area, and the townsfolk always loved him back. He always quoted Ludlow as one of his favourite places in the world.

“The people made us feel like adopted Salopians, and John was always keen to champion the town’s independent businesses and promote the ‘shop local’ message, as well as supporting events like the festival, and food festival.

“Although John travelled the world with his stage and screen career, he was very proud to get the chance to take part in Ludlow Arts Festival, playing Malvolio in Twelfth Night in 2011.

“He always had time for up-and-coming young actors and comedians too, sharing what he had learned over his long career. John came alive when he was performing, and was a firm believer that if there’s something you want to do, you should give it a go, because if you don’t, it could haunt you for the rest of your life.

“You always regret what you don’t do, and rarely regret what you do, that’s what he used to tell people who were considering whether they should pursue their performing dreams.”