John Eric Bartholomew could have chosen anything as his stage name – but he picked ‘Morecambe’.
By making that decision, Eric Morecambe spread the name of our little Lancashire seaside town far and wide as he brought sunshine to the nation.
Eric went on to become a household name alongside his comedy partner Ernie Wise, and arguably the most loved comic and TV entertainer this country has ever produced.
Even today, Eric Morecambe is still in the hearts and minds of millions of British people.
Thirty years after his death aged 58, he remains as iconic as his statue which stands resplendent on our seafront, pulling in thousands of admirers each year.
We believe that few people have done as much as Eric to put Morecambe on the national and international map.
So The Visitor is delighted to announce that in 2014, the recipient of our Sunshine Ambassador Award will be Eric Morecambe.
The Ambassador Award is our equivalent of a ‘lifetime achievement award’, given each year to an individual who has done much to represent our town.
Previous winners are entertainer Ronné Coyles, TV presenter Paul Hayes, up-and-coming band The Heartbreaks, and Queen’s Guide to the Sands of Morecambe Bay, Cedric Robinson MBE.
This year, we will present the award posthumously to Eric Morecambe at the Sunshine Awards ceremony, held at our annual Sunshine Ball at the Midland hotel on Friday, May 2.
Gail Stuart, Eric’s daughter, and her husband Jonathan will be our guests to accept the award on behalf of Eric.
“We are so delighted to be receiving this award,” said Gail. “Dad would be especially thrilled to be honoured by his home team!
“He was a Morecambe boy through and through and by using his home town name he certainly put Morecambe out onto the world stage. We think he did Morecambe proud and Morecambe has done him proud. Wonderful!”
Mike Fountain, Eric’s former chauffeur who lives in Morecambe, said: “I think it’s great that my old boss should be remembered in this way 30 years after he left us. Eric and Ernie are still on our TV screens all these years later, and it seems sometimes they are still with us.”
“I am sure the Morecambe family are so proud of the fact that Eric is still kept in such high regard and affection in his home town as well as the rest of the country.
“The statue of Eric is rarely without admirers even on the wettest of days which stands as testament to this.”