There is something wonderfully compelling about the statue of Eric Morecambe on the promenade overlooking Morecambe Bay in Lancashire … Virtually everyone who sees it has to pose for their photo in that dancey, head-on-one side, hopping-on-one foot stance he made so famous in the 60s, 70s and 80s. He has his back to one of the loveliest views in the country as Morecambe promenade faces out to the beautiful Lake District fells across the deceptively peaceful sands of the Bay.
Eric Morecambe was an English comedian who formed the award-winning double act Morecambe and Wise with fellow northerner Ernie Wise. He took his stage name from his home town of Morecambe in the north west of England. This larger-than-life statue was created by sculptor Graham Ibbeson and was unveiled by the Queen at Morecambe in July 1999, the same year he was voted Britain’s funniest person of the 20th century. The sculpture is surrounded by inscriptions of many of his favourite catchphrases and a lengthy list of the many famous guest stars who appeared on the show. They include The Beatles, Tom Jones, Laurence Olivier, Glenda Jackson, Shirley Bassey, Angela Rippon and conductor Andre Previn.
Not far along the Promenade is the recently restored Art Deco Midland Hotel, where another famous sculptor, Eric Gill, created some very fine murals and sculptures that grace the building, adding a touch of glamour to this traditional English seaside town.
Opposite is Brucciani’s Ice Cream Parlour next to the red-brick Victorian Winter Gardens, venue for many famous names, including Eric Morecambe, from the days when this northern town was a very popular seaside resort, attracting big names from theatre and other performing arts. It’s still waiting rather forlornly for enough funding to be restored to its former lively wondrousness. However, there’s a feeling of optimism about Morecambe Bay and it’s most defintiely on the way up. The spirit of Eric Morecambe must be very happy to see his life-like presence giving so much pleasure to so many – and will hopefully continue to do so for many years to come …