This is a first look at the statue celebrating comedy legends Morecambe and Wise, which will be unveiled at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens next month.
Renowned sculptor Graham Ibbeson has completed work on the stunning 8ft-tall bronzed statue which has been commissioned to mark the 75th anniversary of Eric and Ernie first appearing on stage together in 1941.
Its permanent home will be the spectacular domed entrance to the Winter Gardens in the heart of Blackpool – dubbed Morecambe and Wise’s “spiritual home” by those closest to the legendary double act.
Eric and Ernie performed in Blackpool more than 1,000 times in their illustrious career.
The statue featuring the stars together in one of their trademark poses, will be unveiled at the Winter Gardens on October 14.
Sculptor Graham Ibbeson has completed work on the eight foot tall £75,000 bronze statue which has been commissioned to mark the 75th anniversary of Eric and Ernie first appearing on stage together in 1941.
Its permanent home will be the domed entrance to the Winter Gardens in the heart of Blackpool – dubbed Morecambe and Wise’s ‘spiritual home’ by those closest to the legendary double act.
Mr Ibbeson, who previously sculpted the now famous statue of Eric in the comedian’s hometown of Morecambe in 1999, said: “I am delighted to have brought the boys back together so the nation can see them as they should be – Eric and Ernie alongside one another.
“Morecambe and Wise are the greatest double act to have ever graced British TV screens and both Eric and Ernie’s families agree their spiritual home is Blackpool.
“Eric and Ernie’s families have been involved right through the design and they love the statue which means an awful lot.
“I feel sure it will become a hugely popular and much-loved attraction in Blackpool for generations to come.”
The unveiling ceremony will be performed by Eric’s widow Joan, alongside eldest son Gary and daughter Gail together with a representative from Ernie’s family.
They will be joined on the day by many friends and fans of Morecambe and Wise.
Eric Morecambe’s widow Joan said, on behalf of herself and Doreen Wise (Ernie’s widow): “This is a day which Doreen and I never expected to happen.
“It was so exciting when the statue of Eric was unveiled in his home town of Morecambe in 1999 and I know Doreen was equally delighted when the statue of Ernie was unveiled in Morley, West Yorkshire, in 2010.
“We never dreamt of seeing a statue unveiled to both Eric and Ernie in Blackpool, a town that we have so many happy memories of from all the many shows the boys performed there over the years.
“It will be a day that will live with us forever.”
The new statue, which has been funded through donations, has been gifted to Blackpool Winter Gardens.
Michael Williams, Winter Gardens managing director, said: “The statue is wonderful and we cannot wait to see it unveiled at the entrance of the Winter Gardens where Morecambe and Wise performed so many times in their career.
“This will be a permanent tribute to the nation’s favourite comedy double act which I am sure fans from around the world will want to come and see.
“Graham has done a wonderful job and we cannot thank him enough for all his hard work together with the families of Eric and Ernie who decided Blackpool – the boys’ spiritual home – was the fitting location for this long overdue tribute to these two comedy greats.”
Elaine Smith, of the Winter Gardens Trust, added: “It is wonderful this is finally coming to fruition, and this is a brilliant spot for it.
“I saw Morecambe and Wise perform over the years at just about every theatre in Blackpool and they were so funny.
“They only had to walk on stage and there would be uproar.
“I know the statue in Morecambe brings in a lot of fans, and I think this will do the same for the Winter Gardens.”
Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Their section of the Comedy Carpet is one of the largest and most popular on the artwork and it’s wonderful people have donated the money to honour them again.”