Eric Morecambe statue returns after attempted theft

Eric Morecambe statue
Image caption The seaside attraction captures Eric Morecambe in his Bring Me Sunshine pose

Eric Morecambe's statue is back in its rightful place after a man tried to saw off one of its legs.

The man was detained under the Mental Health Act after the October incident.

The sculpture's designer Graham Ibbeson and a foundry in London repaired the statue, which has now been reinstalled near the late comedian's birthplace, overlooking Morecambe Bay.

His daughter Gail said the family felt moved that the seaside town "cared so much" about Eric's statue.

"As [my brother] Gary said to me, wouldn't it be awful if they all went 'Oh the statue's gone. Oh well', but that wasn't the response," she told BBC North West Today.

"I think that's the most powerful emotion - the realisation that so many people love that statue. It actually has a meaning for them."

Born John Eric Bartholomew, Morecambe formed a much-loved double act with Ernie Wise on stage and television.

Their Christmas specials were a highlight of the festive period, attracting more than 27 million viewers in 1977.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Queen unveiled the statue, capturing the comedian in his Bring Me Sunshine pose, in 1999
Image caption It was removed for repairs in October after a man tried to steal it by sawing off the leg
Image caption The statue returned to Morecambe promenade after work carried out by the sculptor and a London foundry

Eric died in 1984 after collapsing on stage with a heart attack shortly after his 58th birthday. Ernie died in 1999, a few months before the statue of Eric was officially unveiled by the Queen.

Saturday's League Two match between Morecambe FC and the comedian's favourite club Luton Town will also see them competing for the inaugural Eric Morecambe Trophy, again designed by Ibbeson, to mark the statue's restoration.

Image caption Eric Morecambe (centre with Glenda Jackson) would sometimes feature his favourite team on his TV shows with Ernie Wise (right)

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