Today The Visitor officially backs plans for a new Morecambe and Wise tribute in Morecambe.
The Eric Morecambe statue is coming home on December 11.
And his short fat hairy-legged sidekick might not be far behind him.
A brand new tourist attraction paying tribute to both Morecambe AND Wise is being planned for Morecambe, and our newspaper is proud to be right behind it.
We are the first patrons of a project to raise £50,000 for a life-size bronze plaque of the beloved TV comedy duo.
This new landmark for our resort – completely separate to the Eric Morecambe statue – could take pride of place opposite the Winter Gardens, not far from the statue itself.
Created by Graham Ibbeson, the man who sculpted the Eric statue, this piece of wall art will display a true likeness of Eric and Ernie exactly as the nation remembers them.
Nicola Adam, editor of The Visitor, said: “Eric Morecambe is an absolute legend for Morecambe and an icon for the town.
“The Visitor was instrumental in raising funds for the Eric Morecambe statue and we are proud to support this project. The statue has brought in tourists to Morecambe from all over the world, boosting the town’s economy. We believe this additional tribute to Eric and Ernie could be another big draw for Morecambe.
“And it’s only right that after his recent traumatic experience, our Eric gets some company from his best friend Ernie Wise.”
Jim Cadman, Mr Ibbeson’s business partner, is co-ordinating the project.
Mr Cadman said: “We are delighted that The Visitor has agreed to become our first patron.
“This is Morecambe’s chance to say thank you to Eric for the tourism he has brought into the area.
“We hope the local business community will follow The Visitor’s lead and get behind these exciting plans.”
Mr Ibbeson has already drawn up a prototype design for the Morecambe and Wise relief. He hopes funds can be raised in time for a grand unveiling in summer 2015.
This would coincide with a special ‘Eric Morecambe Day’ celebrating the anniversary of the unveiling of the Eric statue by the Queen in July 1999. And there are other exciting Eric-themed events in the pipeline next year which could pull in thousands to Morecambe.
It’s ironic that these exciting plans for a new landmark all came about because of the attack on the Eric Morecambe statue.
The sculpture was removed for repairs on October 11 after a man hacked away at Eric’s leg with a saw in the dead of night.
Graham Ibbeson was notified and quickly began working alongside Lancaster City Council to put our favourite son back where he belongs.
At a public meeting at the Midland on October 22, Mr Ibbeson and Mr Cadman outlined plans for the statue’s return, and also revealed for the first time their wish to build a Morecambe and Wise wall relief in our town.
Mr Cadman has worked with Mr Ibbeson on projects including ‘The Celebration Statue’ of West Bromwich Albion footballers Brendon Batson, Cyrille Regis and Laurie Cunningham.
A football match between Eric Morecambe’s two favourite clubs will kick start the fund raising drive.
Morecambe FC v Luton Town at the Globe Arena on Saturday, December 13 will not only be a battle for League Two points – but also for a specially-created Eric Morecambe Trophy.
Graham Ibbeson has made the trophy, a golden likeness of the Eric Morecambe statue itself.
Other fundraising ideas include an Eric Morecambe tribute magazine full of original photographs and memorabilia, an Eric Morecambe Tribute Dinner at the Globe Arena in February 2015, a gala performance of touring Eric tribute show ‘Morecambe’ at the Winter Gardens, an Eric Morecambe Comedy Night at Lancaster University in March, an auction of celebrity memorabilia, all building up to the Eric Morecambe Day and unveiling of the wall art, hopefully in July.
The team behind plans to bring a Morecambe and Wise tribute to town are seeking out local businesses who want to become patrons of the project.
Patrons will receive a number of exciting opportunities including the chance to have their name on a ‘Walk of Fame’ surrounding the new Eric and Ernie plaque.
Anyone interested in finding out more should contact project co-ordinator Jim Cadman at firstname.lastname@example.org