Family delight at new Eric Morecambe portrait

Joan Bartholomew and Gail Stuart, with chauffeur Mike Fountain, are greeted by Master of Ceremonies Michael Glen at Morecambe Town Hall on Friday.
Joan Bartholomew and Gail Stuart, with chauffeur Mike Fountain, are greeted by Master of Ceremonies Michael Glen at Morecambe Town Hall on Friday.

The family of Eric Morecambe are as pleased as Punch about a new portrait of the comedian by a boxer turned artist.

Joan Bartholomew, Eric’s widow, and Gail Stuart, his daughter, were at Morecambe Town Hall for the unveiling of the painting by Robert Newbiggin.

The new portrait of Eric Morecambe.

The new portrait of Eric Morecambe.

Gail said afterwards she felt emotional when she first saw the work by Mr Newbiggin, who once sparred with former world boxing champion Ricky Hatton.

She said: “Rob has painted a wonderful portrait of Dad and I hope a lot of people go to see it.

“He really captured the man as opposed to the entertainer. Brilliant!”

Joan unveiled the portrait with help from Jon Barry, mayor of Lancaster, at a ceremony on Friday.

The work was commissioned by David Brayshaw, chairman of Morecambe Carnival Committee, and based on a photograph of Eric chosen by the family.

Mr Brayshaw said: “We’re certainly delighted with the end result and we hope the portrait will remain here for the people and visitors of Morecambe for many years to come.”

Tom Chesters, a relative of Eric’s whose company provided the frame for the portrait, was also there. Singer Ashleigh Wood sang her version of ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ – Morecambe and Wise’s signature tune – at the ceremony. Michael Glen was Master of Ceremonies for the event.

Joan and Gail arrived at the town hall in a Rolls Royce once owned by Eric, driven by former chaffeur Mike Fountain.

Later they visited the new Morecambe Heritage Centre near the Winter Gardens, to view an exhibition of entertainment memorabilia.