An uncanny Eric and Ernie tribute topped the bill on a fantastic night of fund-raising and entertainment in Morecambe.
Jonty Stephens and Ian Asphitel are the spitting images of Morecambe and Wise in mannerisms, looks and comedy chemistry - and showed it at the Eric Morecambe Tribute Dinner at the Globe Arena.
The duo, who perform as ‘Eric and Little Ern’ on the West End stage, entertained more than 200 guests with a classic Morecambe and Wise stage routine.
It included the infamous paper bag gag and of course, ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ to finish.
The dinner was held to raise funds for a new Morecambe and Wise attraction in the town.
The campaign, dubbed ‘Morecambe Gets Wise’ by The Visitor, aims to raise £70,000 for a giant piece of wall art on Morecambe seafront, depicting the comedy duo.
This will be housed in a new ‘Sunshine Garden of Fame’ opposite the Winter Gardens.
Guests included Eric’s son Gary Morecambe and the late comic’s chauffeur, Mike Fountain, who lives in the resort.
Ex-footballers Malcolm MacDonald and Paddy Crerand were also at the dinner and regaled guests with tales from their careers.
Malcolm, who played for Eric’s favourite team Luton Town and was in Morecambe 40 years to the day since scoring five goals for England at Wembley against Cyprus, told stories of his meetings with the famous Morecambe-born comedian.
MacDonald and Crerand stood in for Denis Law who was unable to be there because he was attending a funeral.
David Morris, Conservative candidate in Morecambe and Lunesdale in the upcoming General Election, also attended as did Ron Sands, Labour cabinet member for tourism on Lancaster City Council.
Undefeated Morecambe boxer Isaac Lowe, who recently won the International Masters Featherweight Title, was invited to stand up and take a bow to applause from guests.
The event also saw the launch of a new Eric Morecambe tribute beer, the Sunshine Ale, created by Cross Bay Brewery.
Singer Ashleigh Wood also performed her version of ‘Bring Me Sunshine’.
Compere was Jed Stone.
Further events are planned to raise money for the ‘Morecambe Gets Wise’ project including The Visitor’s own Sunshine Ball at the Midland Hotel in Morecambe on May 1.
The plan is to open the new Sunshine Garden of Fame in 2016 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Eric and Ernie first performing together.
Jim Cadman, project co-ordinator, has encouraged local businesses to get involved. Contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org