The man who built the Eric Morecambe statue will visit town tomorrow (October 22) to assess how quickly the landmark can return to its rightful home.
Graham Ibbeson will see the damage to ‘our Eric’ for himself and talk to residents and Lancaster City Council about plans to fix the statue as quickly as possible.
Repair work will begin shortly and the council aims to have Eric back where he belongs by the end of 2014.
It has been 10 days since the statue of the famous Morecambe-born comedian, unveiled by the Queen in 1999, was damaged by a would-be thief who hacked at its leg with a saw.
The attack forced the council to remove ‘Eric’ from his home on the seafront for safety reasons.
The bronze sculpture’s standing foot, the only part of the statue remaining at the site, is now surrounded by a protective metal cage.
The repair process will begin when a steel subframe which supports the sculpture is dug out from the concrete stage on which Eric normally stands.
The subframe and the statue will be repaired at a foundry in London.
“The statue originally took six years to be produced and I hope people will realise that repairing it is not going to be quite as easy as welding back together two pieces of metal,” said Coun Ron Sands from Lancaster City Council.
Meanwhile passers by did a double-take on Saturday and Sunday when it appeared ‘Eric’ had made an early return. Instead, it was plumber Paul Frith, who had covered himself in black make-up to impersonate the much-loved statue. Paul happily posed for photos for hours as he took the statue’s place while collecting more than £100 for charity. He will donate part of the money to Help the Heroes and part to The Visitor’s Save Our Hospice appeal.
“It’s a good craic for the town,” said Paul. “I met Eric when I was akid when he came to Lancaster Road School. He was a giant of a man. ”
TV comedian Dave Spikey has also given his support to the statue in its hour of need.
Dave, star of hit sitcom Phoenix Nights, said: “I’m sad to hear that the statue of my comedy hero Eric Morecambe has been vandalised. Let’s hope he’ll be back on his feet and bringing us sunshine again soon. I’m sure that Eric would have seen the funny side and been the first in with the one-liner of how a true legend of comedy was also now a leg-end of comedy. When it’s repaired I’m thinking he’ll be looking down and quipping: ‘It’s brilliant Ern, you can’t see the join’.”
Some of you have been joining in the craze of impersonating the Eric statue. We hope you enjoy our slideshow.