Til mirth do us part

Tony Vino
Tony Vino

It’ll be far from a Silent Night as one Chorley church aims to get its congregation rolling in the aisles.

Chorley United Reform Church is to welcome stand up comic Tony Vino to its pulpit – and on a Sunday too – to celebrate the God given gift of laughter.

Family friendly funnyman Tony, who was born in Malaga but grew up in nearby Whittle-le-Woods, is to star at a charity fundraising night for local charity International Aid on Sunday January 12,

It’s not the first time that Tony, a Christian himself, has found himself raising laughs in a house of the Lord – performing stand up in no less that two cathedrals in the past.

He’s had the congregations on their knees in York Minster and in Bath and Wells Cathedral – so Chorley should be a push over.

He said: “It is going to be very different to my normal venues – which is the Friday and Saturday night hen and stag parties!

“But it’s very close to my heart. I’m a Christian myself – and I grew up in Whittle-le-Woods nearby.

“When I was a student at Runshaw College, Chorley was where we all used to hang out. So it’s going to be very nostalgic for me.

“I just love coming back. It’s going to be a beautiful homecoming and I will probably see lots of people I know.”

Tony began his comedy career hosting the ethical Just Fair Laughs comedy gigs in Preston and the area.

The shows promoted Fair Trade in its early days and now still spreads awareness but, as the movement has
become better known, they now help to support other charity concerns too.

He turned professional more than seven years ago and now, in addition to touring both nationally and internationally, he is the resident comedy pundit for Radio Manchester.

As well as his Chorley appearance he has another church gig booked, at St Joseph’s in Brindle, on Friday March 15.

But first up is the afternoon fundraiser at Chorley. Vicar Rev Martin Whiffen said: “We wanted to try and do something a little bit different - and we haven’t heard of anyone having a stand up comedian in church before.

“Stand up comics tend to be rather anti-religious. So to find someone who does it from a Christian viewpoint is really quite different.”

The idea came about after one of the church’s parishioners saw Tony in concert - and emailed to suggest that his humour might be suitable to feature in church.

Tony, who grew up in Whittle le Woods but now lives in Manchester, and performs on the national comedy circuit, jumped at the chance.

Rev Martin Whiffen said “We are delighted that Tony Vino has agreed to do a set for us in church – and on a Sunday.

Tony Vino performs at Chorley United Reformed Church, Hollinshead St, Chorley, on Sunday January 12. A hotpot lunch will be served at 12.30pm with Tony performing about 1.30pm.

Tickets, which include lunch, are £7.50 for adults or £5 for children with family tickets at £20, from International Aid shops or from Chorley United Reformed Church.