EXCLUSIVE: Eric Morecambe Statue return date revealed

Eric Morecambe statue
Eric Morecambe statue
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The Eric Morecambe Statue will be back in its rightful spot on Thursday, December 11.

Repairs on the sculpture of the much-loved comedian are almost complete and the date for its return to Morecambe seafront has been set.

The statue will travel up to Morecambe from a London foundry on the Wednesday night and work to re-install ‘Eric’ will then begin.

There will be a re-unveiling ceremony on the Thursday, expected at around 2pm, following a VIP event at The Platform.

It has not yet been confirmed who will unveil Eric.

The comedian’s widow Joan, who lives in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, has said she wants to attend the ceremony.

Graham Ibbeson, sculptor of the statue, said he was “chuffed” at news of the return date.

Graham said: “We’ve pulled out all the stops.

“We want to make sure Eric is as pristine as he can be.”

The statue of Eric was first unveiled by the Queen in 1999 following a fund-raising campaign led by The Visitor.

Our newspaper is working closely with Mr Ibbeson and Jim Cadman, his business partner, on the events to celebrate the statue’s return.

Nicola Adam, editor of The Visitor, said: “We are delighted that the Eric Morecambe Statue will be back in its rightful home on December 11.

“The Visitor campaigned to have the statue erected in the first place, with help from funds raised by so many people who loved Eric, and ever since it has become an iconic representation of Eric and of Morecambe itself.

“We are immensely grateful to Graham Ibbeson, Jim Cadman and Lancaster City Council for working to bring back the sculpture so speedily, and we hope as many people as possible will join us on December 11 for a day of celebration.”

Mr Ibbeson has been personally supervising the repairs with help from Lancaster City Council.

He has also created a special ‘Eric Morecambe Cup’. Morecambe FC and Luton Town football club, who Eric supported, will compete for the cup in their League 2 match on Saturday, December 13 – two days after the sculpture returns.

Other events to celebrate the statue’s return will be held in 2015 including an Eric Morecambe themed day and a gala dinner. A life-sized bronze relief of Morecambe and Wise is also being planned.

Coun Ron Sands, Lancaster City Council cabinet member for tourism, said: “We are extremely grateful to Graham for rearranging his own busy workload, and also to the London foundry doing the work, to help us get Eric back home.”

The statue was removed by the council on October 11 after a man damaged it by sawing ‘Eric’s leg in the dead of night. He was arrested but released without charge and later sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Eric Morecambe was born John Eric Bartholomew in Morecambe, Lancashire, in 1926. His comedy double act with Ernie Wise is renowned as the most popular in British entertainment history.