Eric Morecambe's widow burgled while she attends statue ceremony

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image captionEric Morecambe's widow Joan and son Gary unveiled the bronze statue, which marked the comedy duo's first stage appearance together

The home of Eric Morecambe's widow was broken into while she attended the unveiling of a statue of her late husband, the BBC understands.

Joan Bartholomew, 89, was in Blackpool when burglars targeted her home in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.

Police said items of jewellery, including rings and watches, were stolen some time between Thursday and Sunday.

The statue of Morecambe and Wise marks their first stage appearance together.

Mrs Bartholomew's son, Gary, who was also at the unveiling on Friday at Blackpool's Winter Gardens, told the Lancashire newspaper The Visitor that thieves may have been aware of his mother's trip via social media.

"They must have known she was away," he said.

"There wasn't masses of damage. My mum is a very realistic person, she doesn't like to make herself into a victim. It's just the way it is."

image captionActress and former MP Glenda Jackson appeared with Ernie Wise and Eric Morecambe in their 1972 Christmas show

Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise

  • The popular double act started their 43-year-long partnership by performing in variety theatres
  • After an unsuccessful TV debut in 1954, they honed their skills on stage before making popular shows on the BBC and ITV
  • Their Christmas specials were a highlight of the festive period, attracting more than 27 million viewers in 1977
  • Guest stars included The Beatles, Shirley Bassey, Glenda Jackson, André Previn and Des O'Connor
  • Eric died in 1984 after a heart attack. Ernie died in 1999
image captionEric and Ernie performing one of their many sketches

The 8ft (2.4m) tall bronze statue was created by sculptor, Graham Ibbeson, who also made the statue of Eric in the comedian's hometown of Morecambe in 1999.

It cost £75,000 and was funded by donations.

Mr Ibbeson 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."

image captionBritain's much-loved double act, Eric and Ernie, immortalised in bronze

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