A CROSSFLATTS teenager had a laugh standing up for cancer.

Sam Cooke has raised £560 by performing his first-ever stand-up comedy act in aid of Cancer Research UK.

The charity sent him on an eight-week course in writing and performing comedy before he took to the stage in Harrogate.

He was among 15 budding Michael McIntyres who entertained more than 150 people as they made their stand-up debuts at a comedy club.

Sam, 19, picked up the microphone in honour of his grandfather, who died when he was young, and his mother who has successfully battled breast cancer over the past couple of years.

Sam said: “My grandad passed away when I was at a young age and his passing has affected me since. We were extremely close and there isn’t a day that goes my where he isn’t in my thoughts.

“My mother was then diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 which after a hard fight, and many operations, she has eventually overcome.

“My mother is a constant inspiration and our family has never been closer. Hopefully any donations made will bring us one step closer to a cure for this awful disease.”

Sam, who grew up in Crossflatts, works by day at Ilkley company Virtual College which provides e-learning and training.

Before his routine he raised more than £300, with the Virtual College offering to match the donations.

Sam said he had long been interested in performing comedy but had never performed until he saw the advert for the Cancer Research project.

He joined more than a dozen other people from around Yorkshire for the eight weeks of sessions taught by professional company Ultra Comedy.

Sam said: “The first couple of weeks were about different techniques for writing and making what we’d written more punchy. We then learned how to perform in front of a microphone.

“On the night I was the first person to perform in the last set. I was quite happy to watch the others, but the last couple of minutes before I performed were terrifying.

“It was an amazing feeling when I did the act. The audience laughed a lot more than I expected. It was really good.”

After the debut performance, Ultra Comedy decided Sam was ready to start gigging, so they arranged for him to perform in support of established comedian Danny Posthill elsewhere in Yorkshire.

Sam said: “That was very different, it was in front of about 20 people in a bar area. I’d love to be a stand-up comedian, and do another set, and do another set in front of a crowd. My style is telling people about myself. I look about 12, so my whole set is about looking young.”

Sam has decided to perform professionally as James Cooke, using his middle name.

Cancer Research UK has run its Ultimate Comedy fundraising initiative in several cities around the UK, providing training with professional comedy coaches in readiness for performing at a live comedy night.

The trainees, who were all complete beginners, to commit to raising a minimum of £500 and selling at least 15 tickets to friends, family and colleagues to watch the show.

Cancer Research UK’s aim is to see three out of four people surviving cancer within the next 20 years.

Visit justgiving.com/fundraising/sam-cooke10 to donate to Cancer Research UK in support of Sam.