Turning 60 is rarely a laughing matter and for comic Jasper Carrott it has been no different.

The Brummie comedian hit the milestone age on March 14 and he is taking most of the year off to contemplate that particular landmark.

Yesterday Carrott stepped back into the limelight to show his support for fundraising efforts by staff and customers at the Jam House, in the Jewellery Quarter, which have helped raise £5,000 for Birmingham Children's Hospital.

The money has been raised through the Echo Trust, the latenight entertainment industry charity, and is being presented to the hospital's burns unit.

Carrott will start rehearsals in mid-May for the Birminghambased musical, Go and Play up Your Own End, starring Don Maclean, Malcolm Stent and Lizzie Wiggins and due to be staged at the Alex, but for the rest of 2005 he intends to just spend time with his nearest and dearest.

"I hit the big 60 a few weeks ago and I just wanted a year of contemplation. I haven't done anything so far this year. No one's come in for the talent!

"When my first two grandchildren were born I just wanted to spend some time with them, with my family, the dogs, and see friends.

"Being 60 hasn't changed anything but you become more and more concerned that you are mortal. Even with the initials JC, you're not going to get away with this one." One of the many upsides of his milestone birthday is half price travel all over the West Midlands.

"I know you can send off for some sort of deal when you're 60. You get cheap trains. I don't think I'll actually carry it with me in case it fell out in company." This year he wanted to "pick up on the charity side a bit more", he revealed.

"I got the OBE and since then haven't done that much. I'm making time for things like that.

"Whenever I've raised money for the Children's Hospital, the amount of goodwill for the place all over the Midlands for that place is amazing. I go round on Christmas Eve to visit the kids there.

"On Christmas Eve, they do everything they can to get the kids home to their families so you see only the very critical cases and it is so moving. In fact I had to stop going because I got so distressed at such an important family time."

Jasper is getting increasingly used to being quizzed as much about his daughter Lucy's life as his own. The rising star of The Office and The Archers is currently filming the pilot episode for a new sitcom in Los Angeles.

She went in early January and her father said the family was missing her a great deal.

"It's very difficult to speak to her because she is so busy and because of the time difference. She is as happy as Larry and doing a lot of auditions," said Carrott.

"The last time we spoke to her she was trying to organise a work permit. It's fine but it's got to be extended and she was worrying about getting that done."

The prospect of his daughter eclipsing him is not one that keeps him awake at nights.

"The more interested people are in her, the better I am," he said.

"Now I can let her get on with keeping me in the manner which I'm accustomed to. The umbilical cord from my wallet to her is finally going the other way, from her to my wallet.

"I've had my time and its been wonderful and hopefully now it's hers."