Last night (26.01.2015) at an event at The Platform in Morecambe, Jim Cadman presented to a crowd of interested parties his vision for a new artistic installation on the promenade as well the fundraising plans to make it happen.
The plan is to create a new garden on the promenade called The Sunshine Garden of Fame. The centre piece of which will be a life size bronze relief wall of both Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. The artwork will be created by original Eric statue creator Graham Ibbeson. Both Jim and Graham were greatly moved by the strong community reaction when the statue was damaged last year in an act of vandalism.
You can read our report of the Eric Morecambe Statue Public Meeting organised by Morecambe Carnival’s partners The Bay Radio HERE. The Bay were quick to organise a forum for concerned members of the community and meeting was very well attended. Many commented on how despite the nature of the situation with Eric’s statue it was great to see so many people passionate about the state of affairs in Morecambe and caring so much for the Eric Morecambe Statue and Eric’s lasting legacy.
At that meeting Jim Cadman, who has organised many statue projects across the UK outlined a brief proposal to create an Eric Morecambe Day celebration as well as an additional art installation on Morecambe Promenade to bring Eric’s long time comedic partner and friend Erine Wise to the town.
Sunshine Garden of Fame Fundraising
The Sunshine Garden of Fame will require a programme of fundraising to make it happen. Jim was quick to pointout that the fundraising program will not involve asking for handouts as such – if people put money into the project they will get something out of it.
- Tribute Magazine. This will tell the story of Eric but focuses on Eric’s relationship with Morecambe.
Advertising space will be sold to raise funds while the magazine it’s self will cost £5. It will be on sale nationwide and will be released on Morecambe Carnival Day 2015.
- First Day Cover Commemorative Postcards. First day sales will include Morecambe post-mark and 2nd issue cards will include Carnival Day mark.
- Celebrity Dinner at Globe Arena. Morecambe FC are supporting the project as partners and will be hosting a fundraising dinner.
- Maquettes and Miniatures Auction. Graham Ibbeson has agreed to donate the original maquettes and miniatures that he created in the process of creating the Eric Morecambe Statue.
- Limited Edition Miniatures. Miniature replicas of Eric’s statue will be produced in limited numbers including a number in bronze. These will go on sale for collectors and anyone who wants a mini Eric in their own home.
- Sunshine Garden of Fame Patronage. Invitations will be sent out for people to become a patron to the Sunshine Garden of Fame. Patrons will receive a replica Maquette, plaque within the garden as well as a personalised sunshine plaque to take home.
Many famous friends have been approached or have expressed interest in being involved with the Sunshine Garden of Fame including Shirley Bassey, Dickey Bird, Ken Dodd, Elton John, Glenda Jackson, Des O Conner, Paul McCartney, Lee Mack, Miranda Hart, Jimmy Tarbuck and Victoria Wood.
In keeping with Eric and Ernie’s style a Variety Show is in the early stages of production. This show will feature many famous entertainers. The show will take place at the North Pier Theatre in neighbouring Blackpool and all money raised will go to the Sunshine Garden of Fame fund.
Eric and Little Ern
Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens creators and performers of The Eric and Little Ern stage show will also be involved with the fundraising efforts. They will be hosting a celebrity Golf Tournament at Lytham St Anne’s. A second local fundraising golf tournament will also be organised.
Eric Morecambe Day
A proposed Eric Morecambe Day is being planned for 23rd July. This will become an annual event celebrating Eric’s contribution to the town and the world of comedy. There are many ideas being put forward for this events including a signature conga along the Promenade from Eric’s statue to the new Sunshine Garden of Fame for the unveiling of the artwork and patron plaques.
Mr Cadman invited members of the audience to put forward any questions, top of the list was why hold the Variety Show in Blackpool?
While it would be great to hold the event in Morecambe, currently there are no suitable venues available for use. While the Winter Gardens is in the process of refurbishment its far from ready to host an event like this. The chosen theatre in Blackpool has experience in hosting large events with many acts and celebrities taking part. The North Pier Theatre recognises the tremendous contribution that Eric has made to the North West, not just Morecambe and all funds raised will go towards the Sunshine Garden of Fame project.
Jim pointed out that this project is for Morecambe and will not work without the support of the people of Morecambe.
Morecambe Needs YOU!
Fundraising only works if people help spread the word and get involved. In the coming weeks the fundraising programme will get under way with more details and announcements to come. Eric is a magnet for Morecambe. The new artwork will add to the promenade without taking anything away from the original statue. Eric Morecambe Day promises to be a fantastic draw to the town.
“Eric has given a huge amount to Morecambe. Time to give back to Eric.” – Jim Cadman
Morecambe Carnival supports projects like this which showcase the heritage of Morecambe, have the potential to bring more visitors and enhance the town for the residents.
Details on how to get involved will be made available soon.