My portrait of Eric really packs a punch

Rob Newbiggin and his unfinished Eric Morecambe portrait
Rob Newbiggin and his unfinished Eric Morecambe portrait
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With his tattooed head and past life as an unlicensed boxer, Rob Newbiggin isn’t exactly your typical portrait painter.

But Rob has swapped boxing canvas for an artist’s canvas and created a knockout likeness of Eric Morecambe which is set to go on public display.

The ex-fighter’s portrait of Eric comes with approval from the comedian’s family and could end up hanging in Morecambe Town Hall.

Rob’s work has been commissioned by David Brayshaw, businessman and chairman of Morecambe Carnival committee. Mr Brayshaw is in talks with Lancaster City Council, owners of the town hall, and hopes the portrait can be unveiled on carnival weekend (May 2-3).

It is based on a family photo supplied by Gail Stuart, Eric’s daughter.

“It’s a massive honour,” said Rob, a self-employed professional artist.

“It will be a fantastic thing for Morecambe and also for me, because I used to love Eric and I remember my dad trying to mimic him.”

The portrait will be framed by Bay Framing, run by Tom Chesters, whose grandfather was Eric’s second cousin.

Rob has also been commissioned to create a mural of Morecambe motorbike star John McGuinness as part of a street art project on Victoria Street. This will be painted on the outside wall of Colin Brown’s hairdressers. He is also working on a mural at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary to help people with dementia.

Rob, 50, had around 200 fights on the unlicensed, or ‘white collar’ boxing circuit including on the first boxing show in decades at the Winter Gardens in 2012. He also boxed professionally and once sparred with former world champion Ricky Hatton. Today Rob, who lives in Morecambe with his daughter Mercedes, is a licensed cornerman and trainer for the Karl Ince Training Camp in Preston, and recently worked the corner on Sky TV’s Prizefighter card from Blackpool.