Last Wednesday, the Carnival Committee descended en masse at The Midland Hotel to attend the public meeting organised by The Bay Radio.
The meeting was called in order that we could find out, first hand, exactly what plans are in place to reinstate our Eric Morecambe sculpture to its rightful place on the prom.
As we went in, we were greeted by the reassuring strains of Morecambe Brass Band playing ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ which seemed to put everyone in the right mood.
I’m sure that there are plenty of reports elsewhere in The Visitor detailing the discussions which took place at the meeting, so I won’t repeat all of them.
What I will say is, that although I was disappointed that no specific date was given for Eric’s return, I am reassured by the statement from the LCC representative Mark Davis that the council will treat the return of Eric as a top priority and get him back to his rightful place as soon as possible.
All the signs are that it should be by Christmas 2014; January 2015 at worst. The Carnival Committee has recently had a number of discussions with Mark and he has been as good as his word and been really co-operative with our ambitious plans for 2015.
To be honest, I thought all that would come out of the meeting would be the assurance that the sculpture will be returning and that the money is there to pay for it. The former was quickly confirmed and, Mark Davis also made it clear that what the insurance may not cover, will be found from LCC coffers.
What I wasn’t expecting was when Graham Ibbeson (Eric’s sculptor) and his business partner Jim Cadman, also announced their idea for another sculpture for the promenade.
Their idea is a 3D life size panel featuring both Eric and Ernie. They also want a star-studded event next July, to celebrate Eric, which will coincide with the 15th anniversary of the Queen unveiling Eric’s sculpture.
Amina Lone, the Labour Parliamentary candidate raised a question from the floor, asking if there would be any opportunities to get local schools involved. She thought that this would help teach the next generation about Eric and his legacy to Morecambe. Jim Cadman agreed with the sentiment and suggested that local schoolchildren could help design a collectable first day cover.
Amina has agreed to lead this project, together with local arts organisations and she plans to involve local schools, to ensure that our Eric is loved for generations to come.
Although we can look forward to a speedy return of Eric, the official unveiling will take a little longer to organise and there’s also the big celebrations planned for next July. I’m sure many people will want to get involved with these events and you can be sure that our carnival team will be there, helping out in whatever way we can.