Little urns for little Ern idea

AN application to the Big Lottery Fund People's Millions may have been unsuccessful, but our campaign to honour one half of the country's most loved comedy duos is still going strong.

The Observer and Advertiser launched a campaign in January this year demanding a permanent memorial to East Ardsley’s most famous son, Ernie Wise.

Ernie entertained millions on stage and screen for decades with comedy partner Eric Morecambe, but almost 10 years after his death, on March 21 1999, nothing has been done to commemorate his comic genius.

Earlier this year, Morley Murals Committee applied for the People’s Millions with the hope of a grant enabling the borough where Ernie not only grew up, but where his long and hugely successful career in entertaining began, to give him the recognition he deserves.

Tingley resident and Morecambe and Wise fan Paul Cockcroft, who inspired the campaign with his ardent wish to put right a ‘huge oversight’, said that the setback with the lottery fund won’t stop him in his quest.

Paul said: “We made the reserves list, but thinking about it now 50,000 does seem a little excessive, but this isn’t the end. We won’t stop there.

“We will re-submit our application next year, probably for around 8,000 and feel quite confident. But, another idea I think could work is ‘Donate your little urns for Little Ern’.

“We could ask people nationwide to donate their redundant “little urns”, such as old brass plates and copper kettles, which we can then weigh in at Morley Waste Traders and raise some money that way.

“I am still very passionate about it and I will not let it drop. It’s just finding the funding.”

Paul said that he believes local sculptor Melanie Wilks has already done some sketches for an Ernie statue.

“It would be good to see what the people of Morley think of them and which one they like the most,” he said.

“We are looking towards the new year now to see what funding we can come up with.”