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LAUGHING ALL WAY TO BANK.

Byline: CATHERINE JONES Social Affairs Reporter

LIVERPOOL'S top comedians are joining forces to make merry in aid of the ECHO's Sunrise Fund.

And the charity is calling on readers to make sure beneficiary Barnardo's will be laughing all the way to the bank with proceeds from the Best of Liverpool event.

The talented 10-strong line-up at the gag fest on Sunday, July 18, includes Keith Carter, Steve Gribbin, Brendan Riley, Pauline Daniels, Simon Bligh, Chris Cairns and R David.

The show at the Philharmonic Hall -- the grand finale of the three-week Liverpool Comedy Festival -- will also feature the young winner of the Stand Out competition for 14 to 18 -year-olds.

For every ticket sold, pounds 1 will be donated to the Sunrise Fund.

Cathy Sheel from Barnardo's said: ``We hope everyone will get involved, have a great night out and help raise vital funds for children on Merseyside. Money will go to our Keeping Children Safe project. ''

Iain Christie, from theLiverpool Comedy Trust which has organised the 18 day festival, said: ``Best of Liverpool is the best way to bring the curtain down on the festival and to raise money for a good cause.

``By 2008 we hope Liverpool will be an internationally renowned festival. You know it's on the up when acts ring you and ask when it's on, which they have this year. ''

The comedy festival kicks off tonight with Faith, Hope, Hilarity -- stand-up from city clerics and religious leaders to mark Year of Faith.

In total, it boasts more than 100 shows and more than 200 performers at venues across the city and beyond, including an old Norwegian ferry.

Merseyside mirth masters are being joined by national and international artists, including Perrier Award winners Daniel Kitson and Tommy Tiernan, and legendary American stand-up Jackie Mason.

Johnny Vegas appears at the Royal Court, and the ECHO's own Paddy Hoey has penned news quiz Hold The Third Page, hosted by Nicholas Parsons.

See tomorrow's 24/7 for a full festival guide and interview with Jackie Mason.

TICKETS for the Best of Liverpool and other comedy festival tickets are available on the ticket hot line 07004 729 4433.

Log on to www. liver pool comedyfestival. com for more details.

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FUNNY: The Best of Liverpool night will feature Keith Carter, inset, Chris Cairns and below, Pauline Daniels and Steve Gribbin
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:391
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