Eric Morecambe's widow burgled as she unveils new Morecambe and Wise statue

Burglars struck while Eric Morecambe's widow was unveiling a new statue paying tribute to her husband and his sidekick.

Monday, 17th October 2016, 1:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:07 pm
Unveiling of the new Morecambe and Wise statue at the Winter Gardens. Pictured are Gary Morecambe, Joan Morecambe and Gail Morecambe.

Thieves broke into Joan Bartholomew’s house and stole precious items while she was away in Blackpool celebrating a new sculpture of Morecambe and Wise.

Joan discovered the break-in when she returned to her home in Harpenden, Hertfordshire where she lived with comedy legend Eric.

Thieves searched the house and stole watches and jewellery worth thousands of pounds, said a spokesman for Hertfordshire Police.

Crowds gathered at Blackpool Winter Gardens to watch the unveiling of the statue on Friday.

The spokesman said there was evidence of forced entry through the front door.

The burglary was reported to them at 5pm on Saturday.

Joan had returned home after joining her son Gary and daughter Gail at a ceremony to unveil the new Eric and Ernie statue at the Blackpool Winter Gardens.

Gary said his mum, 89, was fine after the break-in.

Crowds gathered at Blackpool Winter Gardens to watch the unveiling of the statue on Friday.

“There wasn’t masses of damage,” said Gary, who himself was burgled earlier this month.

“My mum is a very realistic person, she doesn’t like to make herself into a victim. It’s just the way it is.

“I guess that’s the power of social media, they must have known she was away.”

Gary also said the break-in hadn’t soured his mum’s delight at seeing the new statue of her late husband, who died in 1984.

The 8ft tall monument of the Morecambe-born comedian and Ernie Wise, who died in 1999, was created by Graham Ibbeson who also sculpted the Eric Morecambe statue on Morecambe seafront.

Eric, who took his stage name from his birthplace, and Ernie performed in Blackpool more than 1,000 times in their career.

The statue celebrates the 75th anniversary of Britain’s best loved comedy double act first appearing on stage together in 1941.

Joan said after Friday’s unveiling: “The statue is simply wonderful.

“Graham has really captured Eric and Ernie to perfection.

“For it to be unveiled here in Blackpool, where I personally have so many happy memories of Eric and Ernie and our families together down the years, is very fitting.

“This has been a really special day I will remember forever.”