Bobby Ball immortalised in bronze: 9ft statue of beloved British comic ‘with a twinkle in his eye’ is unveiled in his adopted hometown of Lytham by long-time comedy partner Tommy Canon
- A statue in memory of comedian Bobby ball was unveiled in Lytham, Lancashire
- Funnyman Ball, 76, died in October 2020 after he was diagnosed with Covid
- Comedians Tommy Canon and Lee Mack and Ball’s wife Yvonne saw ceremony
- English Tenor and Blackpool native Alfie Boe also performed at the unveiling
A nine-foot bronzed sculpture of legendary comedian Bobby Ball pulling on his braces ‘with a twinkle in his eye’ has been unveiled in his adopted hometown.
The massive statue, weighing roughly 600kg (1322 lbs) and portraying the showman on his 40th birthday, was revealed close to the seafront of Lytham, Lancashire, today.
Celebrities including Lee Mack – who starred with Bobby in the hit series ‘Not Going Out’ – and his long-time comedy partner Tommy Canon spoke at the moving ceremony.
English tenor and Blackpool native Alfie Boe also performed at the unveiling along with an NHS choir, while Bobby’s widow later gave touching dedications.
The legendary funny man, who was one half of comedy duo Cannon and Ball, tragically died aged 76 after testing positive for Covid in October 2020.
Tommy Cannon and Lee Mac stand at unveiling of the Bobby Ball statue in Lowther Gardens, Lytham this afternoon
Bobby’s wife of 46 years Yvonne greets guests ahead of the statue’s unveiling today
The legendary funny man, who was one half of comedy duo Cannon and Ball, tragically died aged 76 after testing positive for Covid in November last year
The statue in Bobby’s memory now stands pride of place at the seafront of Lytham, his adopted hometown
And following the sad news, Ben Twiston-Davies – who created the Agatha Christie memorial in London – was chosen to produce his impressive bronze statue.
Bobby’s wife of 46 years, Yvonne, who got a preview of the sculpture, said the artist had ‘nailed’ his likeness after he ‘studied everything’ about the much-loved entertainer.
And she said Bobby would have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the statue honouring him, which was revealed in his home town’s Lowther Gardens at 1 pm today.
She said: ‘To put it in his words, he’d be ‘piggin’ chuffed’.
‘Bob loved living in Lytham. We had made it our home so to have him remembered with a statue in the gardens of Lowther Pavilion is very special indeed..’
The coastal town, two miles from the entertainment mecca of Blackpool, was his home from the mid-1990s until his death in October at the age of 76.
Cllr Karen Buckley, Fylde Council leader, said: ‘Bobby was a very special, incredibly talented and unique individual who was truly adopted by the locals of Lytham St Annes.
Lee Mack, who-co-starred with Ball in Not Going Out, paid tribute to the legendary funnyman with a speech at today’s unveiling
Ball played Frank in Not Going Out, the father of Lee (played by Lee Mack)
Ball on The Cannon & Ball Show on ITV in June 1984. The show ran from 1979 to 1988
Tommy Cannon greets scores of fans who turned out to see the statue’s unveiling ceremony
‘His lasting legacy of kindness and joy means he will be sadly missed and this statue will ensure he can go on giving that joy to visitors and residents of the area long after Bobby took his final bow and left the stage.’
Bobby’s family said he was a patron of Lowther Pavilion and had performed at the venue many times, including the staging of the first play he wrote, ‘Rock Off Tommy’.
Bobby, real name Robert Harper, was laid to rest on November 17 last year in the town and he took one final journey to Blackpool Tower where he regularly performed.
In an emotionally charged ceremony, more than 60 fans lined the streets donning his famous braces.
His wife of 46 years, Yvonne, previously said Bobby had long joked about how he wished to be remembered, saying: ‘I want a statue in Lytham’.
Fellow comic Les Dawson is immortalised with a statue on the town’s seafront after he too made it his adopted home.
Yvonne said: ‘He used to say to people ‘Where’s my statue, where’s my statue?’ I used to reply ‘You’re not dead yet, Bob.’
‘A walk and sit in Lowther Gardens was a favourite pastime but always ended up taking longer than anticipated and would turn into a ‘promote Lytham’ exercise, while Bobby happily chatted and let people know how lucky he felt to be living here.’
Tommy Cannon (left) and Bobby Ball (right) pose for an ITV publicity photo in May 2001
Ball’s wife Yvonne and comedy partner Tommy Cannon stand with his statue today in Lytham
Cannon and Ball rose from playing working men’s clubs to hosting their own Saturday night ITV show in the 1980s.
The duo’s primetime Saturday night television series The Cannon and Ball Show was a hit with fans and consistently recorded high viewing ratings.
They also starred in the film The Boys in Blue together in 1982 and guest starred in the Eric Sykes slapstick film, Mr H Is Late, in 1988.
After dropping out of the spotlight in the 1990s, Ball found new fame as the father of fellow comic Lee Mack’s character in the BBC sitcom Not Going Out.
He also starred in Sky TV’s sitcom Mount Pleasant, alongside Sally Lindsay.
The statue was given the green light by Fylde Council last year and a crowdfunding page to raise £100,000 to pay for the statue was launched.
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