‘Move Charlie before he gets trashed again’

Frank Smithson with the statue of Charlie Cairoli in Stanley Park.
Frank Smithson with the statue of Charlie Cairoli in Stanley Park.
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A former restaurateur to the stars has launched an online petition calling for the vandal-hit statue of Charlie Cairoli to be moved to a safer place.

Frank Smithson, who previously ran the Autumn Leaves restaurant, in Topping Street, Blackpool, believes the Rose Gardens in Stanley Park is the wrong place for the tribute.

It has been damaged twice since being unveiled in April.

The latest incident earlier this month saw one of the statue’s hands pulled off.

Mr Smithson, whose restaurant in its heyday attracted comics including the late Les Dawson and Russ Abbot, has lodged his petition on Blackpool Council’s website.

So far 61 supporters have signed it, and people have around three months to view it.

Mr Smithson is calling for the immediate removal of the statue until a new site can be decided.

He said: “The petition is just about asking if the current location is really the right place for Charlie.

“It is an isolated part of the park which I think is why the statue is quite vulnerable to possible vandalism.

“There are several lines of thought about what could be done.

“He could be moved to another part of the park, such as the Italian Gardens where he might be safer, or on to the Promenade, or even inside the Tower.

“Another thought is let’s campaign for another statue which could be a proper bronze one for the Promenade and perhaps we could get the circus community involved in some kind of fund-raising.

“A lot of people remember Charlie Cairoli with a great deal of fondness.”

Chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park Elaine Smith said the current statue was not strong enough to withstand conditions on the Promenade because it is made from fibre glass.

She said: “There is no way this statue could go on the Promenade, and the only way we will get enough money for a metal statue on the Promenade is if people are willing to donate their money.

“It was looked into a few years ago, and the cost was around £65,000 then.

“There is no way the council could afford that.”

Anyone who wishes to access Mr Smithson’s online petition through the council’s website by clicking onto ‘p’ and then ‘petitions’ on the menu.

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