Bring me sunshine - statue of Morecambe and Wise to be unveiled in Blackpool
Published 28/09/2016 | 00:11
Morecambe and Wise will be celebrated with the unveiling of the first statue of both members of the comedy double act.
The eight foot tall bronzed statue of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise was commissioned to mark the 75th anniversary of them first appearing on stage together in 1941.
Sculpted by Graham Ibbeson, it will take up residence in the domed entrance of Blackpool's Winter Gardens - dubbed their "spiritual home" by those closest to them.
They performed more than 1,000 times in the seaside town during their career, and Morecambe's widow Joan said the unveiling is a day she and Doreen, Wise's widow, "never expected to happen".
"It was so exciting when the statue of Eric was unveiled in his home town of Morecambe in 1999 and I know Doreen was equally delighted when the statue of Ernie was unveiled in Morley, West Yorkshire, in 2010," she said.
"We never dreamt of seeing a statue unveiled to both Eric and Ernie in Blackpool, a town that we have so many happy memories of from all the many shows the boys performed there over the years.
"It will be a day that will live with us forever."
The sculpture will be unveiled on October 14 by Mrs Morecambe, their eldest son Gary and daughter Gail, and a representative from Wise's family.
Mr Ibbeson, who also previously created the statue of Morecambe in his home town, said he is "delighted to have brought the boys back together so the nation can see them as they should be".
He said: "Morecambe and Wise are the greatest double act to have ever graced British TV screens and both Eric and Ernie's families agree their spiritual home is Blackpool.
"Eric and Ernie's families have been involved right through the process and they love the statue which means an awful lot.
"I feel sure it will become a hugely popular and much-loved attraction in Blackpool for generations to come."
The new statue, which cost £75,000 and was funded through donations, has been gifted to the coastal entertainment complex.
Managing director of the historic site, Michael Williams, said Winter Gardens was a "fitting location" for the "long overdue tribute to these two comedy greats".