WHEN I was a child playing at a friend’s house in the North Yorkshire village where I grew up, a visitor arrived.

I was excited to learn it was Ian Lavender, Private Pike from Dad’s Army.

I can’t remember why he was there - I think it was something to do with a car - and I didn’t meet or speak to him, but I saw him, at the bottom of their garden, chatting to my friend’s dad.

It was the mid-1970s and I would have been in early teens, but even then, the fact that I had seen someone from Dad’s Army in the flesh was to me other-worldly. 

Once I got home I couldn’t wait to tell my dad. I don’t think he believed me, but soon it was all round the village.

My siblings and I were raised on Dad’s Army.

My dad loved it and would sit laughing and commenting on how marvellous the characters were, especially Captain Mainwaring.

He loved the episode in which his drunken brother turns up, also played by Arthur Lowe, and would marvel at Lowe’s acting skills.

We all loved Fraser and his voice of doom while relaying gossip over the phone by candlelight.

And gentle Godfrey, whose sister Dolly made world-beating cucumber sandwiches.

Now, since the death of Ian Lavender early this month, there are no more living main cast members.

The only previous one from the series - Frank Williams, who played the vicar - died in 2022.

The legacy of all who took part lives on.

Who would have thought that the sitcom enjoyed by my family in the 1960s and early 1970s, would still be loved by people of all ages more than 50 years on?

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Ian Lavender. Picture Ian West/PAIan Lavender. Picture Ian West/PA
My husband loves Dad’s Army so much he not only watches it but listens to CDs of different episodes while cooking.

My daughters have grown up with it and know most of the characters.

It was my youngest, aged 25, who told me that Ian Lavender had died.

It’s such a pleasure to watch - I love the endless sunny days: it never seems to rain in Dad’s Army.

The scenery is wonderful - you can’t beat the olde-worlde charm of the Norfolk countryside, the quaint Walmington-on-Sea tea shop, where Mainwaring tried to impress a female recruit, and Mr Jones’s butcher’s.

I am sure my love of church halls stems in part from Dad’s Army.

Older church halls all have the same look, with rough, exposed floorboards, a small, curtained stage and a cosy little ‘office’ to one side.

Traditional halls like this always remind me of Dad’s Army.

Although set at a time of world conflict, Walmington-on-Sea runs at a gentle pace. It’s pure escapism.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch the 2016 Dad’s Army film.

Maybe one day I’ll take a peep, but I’m a bit of an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ person and - however much I like Toby Jones - I don’t want anyone outside the original line up occupying my thoughts.

Like every other cast member, Ian ‘stupid boy’ Lavender was perfect for that role.

His character was always a popular fancy dress choice - the army fatigues topped by a scarf to keep his neck warm.

I remember one Christmas party in our local pub, when several people turned up as different Dad’s Army cast members. I’ve got a photo somewhere.

It’s sad to think that every main cast member of Dad’s Army has now gone but they live on in our living rooms.

Long may we continue to enjoy the humour that the incomparable writers Jimmy Perry and David Croft created.