Mystery solved! Why Doddy let the grass grow at his Shropshire country hideaway

And here it is – Doddy’s country home near Whitchurch.

Ken Dodd's home near Whitchurch in 1989
Ken Dodd's home near Whitchurch in 1989

After we carried a recent story describing it as being overgrown, a rather miffed Stan Chesters, who has kept it in tip-top condition on behalf of the late Sir Ken Dodd for around 50 years, got in touch.

“I’ve looked after the place, done all the repairs, and tidied it all up,” said Stan, 83.

“I’ve been associated with him for 50 years and got to know him.

"I was a builder and I was doing jobs and his agent said ‘we have a lot to do, we have bought this place’ and asked if I would do the work.

“I have the keys and I go up most days and see to the central heating. I do all the repairs and tidy it all up. It hasn’t been neglected.”

Stan said the lawns were regularly cut, and wasn’t happy about our description of the property as being “overgrown” – but that was before we pointed out the evidence of our picture, which was taken at the time of Doddy’s tax fraud trial in June 1989, which turns out to be relevant to the garden’s unkempt appearance at that time.

Strimmer

Stan’s memory was jogged.

“He said ‘let it go.’ It was at the time the tax people were coming round. He said to leave it,” Stan said with a chuckle.

"When it was overgrown around the back I said to him that I wanted a new strimmer – or some scaffolding – if I had to sort this grass out, as it was that long.

"He put it in his show when he came to Whitchurch, saying a builder friend wanted scaffolding to cut the grass.” It wasn’t the only time Stan would feature in Doddy’s show.

“He always mentioned me at the end of the show. He used to say ‘Mr and Mrs Chesters are here.’”

Doddy’s counsel told the court during the famous tax trial that the property was not connected to electricity.

“It was switched off, I think,” recalled Stan.

Stan, who lives at Whitewell, near Whitchurch, said: “He still owned it. He often came down and was going to put carpets in.

“He bought it to do up and used it as a stopping place. He never lived there but used to come down quite a lot.

“I used to say to Ken, why don’t you sell it or rent it, but he said no.

“The last time I was in touch with him was on the phone, about a month before Christmas, just before he was taken ill.

“I’m going to go to the remembrance service in Liverpool.”

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