Shop fronts give Eric a birthday gift to remember

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Shops pulled out all the stops to celebrate Eric Morecambe’s birthday and the great man himself would have been proud.

Businesses dressed windows with Eric teddies, wallpaper, books, paintings, memorabilia...even mirrors in the shape of his trademark specs.

And the results definitely brought a little sunshine to our town.

Morecambe town centre shops ‘Dressed to Impress for Eric’ hoping to win a competition organised by Lancaster City Council.

They were asked to decorate their shop fronts and windows with an Eric Morecambe themed display and 18 of them rose to the challenge.

The Visitor sponsored the competition as part of our Support Our Shops (#SOSMorecambe) campaign, offering two weeks’ free advertising to the winners.

A panel of judges went out to view the entries on May 14, which would have been the comedian’s 87th birthday.

They included Mike Fountain, Eric’s former chauffeur, and Eric impersonator Bob More.

Dressed in flat cap and specs, Bob delighted shopkeepers by popping in to crack jokes and even flawlessly pulled off Eric’s classic ‘paper bag’ trick.

Other judges were city councillors Ron Sands and David Kerr, John Watkins, chair of the Town Team, Morecambe Community High School teacher Dr Phil Jumeau and pupils Joe Wells and Chloe Bingham, Gill Haigh from Lancaster City Council and Greg Lambert, of The Visitor.

13 The Warehouse was judged winner of the Best Retail display in the town centre.

“There is a great shopping experience in Morecambe and some really interesting shops, and we need to let people know about them,” said Tricia Heath, owner of the Queen Street gift shop.

LZ Boutique finished second in this category and Herbert Brown jewellers was third.

Joint winners in the Best Retail in the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) area were Northern Relics antiques shop and the Pottery Basement.

Welcome Cafe won Best Eatery in the town centre and Eric’s Cafe won in the THI area, which covers the promenade.

Sue Ryder Care won Best Charity in the town centre.

Coun Sands congratulated entrants and said: “Every one of them deserved a prize. These shops are varied, but they all represent a welcome determination to take our resort back into the premier league.

“Never in recent times has the British retail sector faced such difficult high street challenges.

“But the fight back has begun, and can only go from strength to strength as more businesses join these and similar campaigns.”

The Visitor would like to thank Lancaster and Morecambe College art students for dressing our own office window on Victoria Street with a distinctive ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ display.

Other entrants were the Festival Market, Classic Engravings, Bealybobs, Cancer Research UK, Style 17, Wrapture, the Little Shop of Hobbies, Jerome Celebration Cakes, Fancy That and Barnados.