It was all smiles at The Visitor’s annual Sunshine Ball as the town honoured its favourite son.
His daughter Gail Stuart accepted the award on Eric’s behalf to a standing ovation from the 130 guests at the Midland Hotel.
Gail then delivered a speech so hilarious, her dad would have been proud!
The gala night at the Midland hotel was also a triumph for Morecambe Bay Foodbank who won best Community Group, while its co-ordinator Annette Smith took the Unsung Hero prize.
The Nice ‘n’ Sleazy punk festival scooped the Entertainment Award, following on from lead organiser Ivan Harrison winning it last year.
Veteran table tennis coach Ken Richardson was a delighted winner of the Sport Award, beating Morecambe FC manager Jim Bentley and World’s Strongest Man competitor Graham Hicks.
There was a special Culture Award for Howard Rogerson, founder and conductor of Morecambe’s Promenade Concert Orchestra. And Battersby Silver Grey Coaches, in business in the town for more than 65 years, took the Business Award. An auction and raffle on the night helped raise £4,351 for The Visitor’s #SaveOurHospice appeal on behalf of St John’s Hospice. St John’s Hospice choir also performed on the night.
The Ball was sponsored by Wright and Lord Solicitors and hosted by Greg Lambert. TV personality Paul Hayes hosted the auction and his band The Paul Hayes Collection provided live music.
The full list of Sunshine Award winners was:
Sponsored by the Arndale Centre
WINNER: Battersby Silver Grey Coaches
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Promenade Music, Gerry’s Fishing Tackle
Sponsored by Cumberland Building Society
WINNER: Morecambe Bay Foodbank
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Go Morecambe, Morecambe and District Junior Anglers
Sponsored by Morecambe Press
WINNER: The Nice ‘n’ Sleazy punk festival
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Steve Middlesbrough, Howard Rogerson
Sponsored by Johnstone’s Decorating Centre
WINNER: Ken Richardson
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Jim Bentley, Graham Hicks
UNSUNG HERO AWARD
Sponsored by EDF Energy
WINNER: Annette Smith
HIGHLY COMMENDED: David Brayshaw, Eileen Thomas-Woodhouse
Sponsored by Wright and Lord