Christopher Warner/Zoom Picture Agency


Can't hear the show? Simply download the latest version of quicktime.

The Statue unveiling speeches as recorded by Ross Owen for The Laurel and Hardy Forum, the audio playlist is as follows:

Intro by the Ulverston Town Band
Ulverston Town Crier introduces Introduces Ken Dodd and The Mayor Of Ulverston
Opening speech by Harry Knowles chairman of the Ulverston Market Town Initiative
Eric Woods speech
Mayoress of Ulverston Brenda Marr introduces Ken Dodd
Ken Dodd speech
Ken Dodd Unveils The Statue
Harry Knowles Closing Comments
Sons Of The Desert sing us out with the anthem

The Nutty Nut News Networks own Dean McKeown with Maria

Mr Laurel and Mr Hardy meet Mr Bogie

Laughing Gravy

Dean helping Stan and Ollie with 'The Music Box' in the newly opened museum.

Inside the museum

Stephen Neale

Rogerrrrrr Robinson from The Saps at Sea Tent

Mark and Alan from the museum

'How tickled I am'

The sculptor Graham Ibbeson

The Sons statue coordinator Eric Woods who gave so much of his time freely.  'Hats Off' to Eric

Members of the Sailors Beware tent with banner

left to right   Grand Vizier - Stuart Green, Stan, Ollie, Grand Sheik - Graeme Green


A Laurel and Hardy appreciation society based in Hyde made the trip to Ulverston for the recent unveiling of the statue of Stan and Ollie on Sunday April 19th.

Sons of the Desert (the name given to members of appreciation societies all over the world) raised the funds for the memorial to Ulverston's most famous Son.

With banner unfurled, the group enjoyed the sun-soaked occasion. Graeme Green, Grand Sheik of the Sailors Beware tent said "We had a perfect day. We were very pleased our last donation took the appeal over the finish line and we were very proud to witness the unveiling ceremony. We had a great time with Stan and Ollie tribute acts and met lots of other Sons from all over England, Germany and the USA".

The club meetson the last Thursday of the month at the Cheshire Ring in Hyde to enjoy real ale and slap-stick comedy. All are welcome.

Information about the tent can be found at www.sailors-beware.co.uk


Gino Dercola has been in touch to say:

I was contacted by fellow Son, Jackie Mobbs (pictured above), from England. She was at the recent statue unveiling in Ulverston. In the attached photo (which is in Windows format), Jackie--in the character of Nigel Ponsonby Smallpiece--is on the right-hand side; her partner, Aubrey--in the character of Mick The Marmalizer--is on the left. This nice photo was taken at the unveiling by Stephen Neale who lives in Cumbria, England.

ANYWAY!! Jackie wants to ask any Son who was at the unveiling whether they might have taken a photo of her and Aubrey shaking hands with Ken Dodd--she would love to get a copy of it. If you are able to help her, she can be reached at jackiemobbs AT yahoo.co.uk


The articles below are older news items that we have reported on the Statue Appeal over the past months.


Ken Dodd is to recreate great comic moment
North West Evening Mail

COMEDIAN Ken Dodd will recreate a moment etched in Ulverston’s history at the unveiling of the Laurel and Hardy statue this weekend.

The comic will take to the balcony of the Coronation Hall to greet the crowd, as Stan and Ollie did during their visit to the town in 1947.  Huge crowds are expected to turn out to witness Ken Dodd unveil the £60,000 statue in the heart of County Square on Sunday.  Hundreds of members of Sons of the Desert, the Laurel and Hardy fan club which funded the bronze likeness, will also descend on the square.  Organisers of the ceremony have put together an afternoon of music and street theatre.

Ken Dodd will be chauffeured into the square by Laurel and Hardy lookalikes and street theatre artists Haurel and Lardy in their Model T Ford. Harry Knowles, chairman of the Market Town Initiative, will make a speech before Eric Woods, representing the Sons of the Desert, presents the statue to Ulverston Mayor, Councillor Janette Jenkinson.

The formal unveiling will take place at 3.50pm, after which Ken Dodd will take to the balcony where Laurel and Hardy stood 62 years ago.

He said: “Ulverston is rightly proud of its finest export and I am delighted and honoured to be unveiling the statue which will serve to pay rightful homage to a man whose humour reflected his genuine love of people, and his instinctive ability to know what made people laugh.”

The statue is the centrepiece to Ulverston’s County Square enhancement scheme.


A beer to get your laughing gear round
North-West Evening Mail

A COMMEMORATIVE ale has been brewed especially to raise a toast to Laurel and Hardy for their Ulverston homecoming.

Ulverston Brewing Company directors Anita Garner and partner Paul Swann have created the 3.9 per cent real ale to mark the unveiling of the statue of the legendary comedy duo on April 19.

The beer, called Celebration Ale, features a picture of the bronze statue on its label. And Miss Garner hopes the bottled ale will act as a portable tourism advert for the South Lakes town when it is drunk.

She said: “All our beers have names associated with Laurel and Hardy – names like Another Fine Mess, Laughing Gravy and Flying Elephants. We’re born and bred in Ulverston so we wanted our beers to be linked to the town.

“We got the permission of the town council to use the town crest on the bottle as a logo and if our beers travel then people will associate them with Ulverston. We’ve worked with Graham Ibbeson, the statue sculptor, and he’s okayed it for us to use the statue on the label. It also mentions a little bit about Ulverston and says ‘raise your glass to the comedy duo in our home town’. We wanted to advertise Ulverston for people to come and visit.”

Miss Garner describes the drink as a very pale, hoppy, easy, refreshing beer. And she says that despite doom and gloom of the recession, trading figures are slightly up on last year.

Miss Garner said: “I think more and more people are wanting local produce. It can only be good because at least the money is coming back into our local economy.”

A bottle of the ale will be handed to each of the dignitaries present on the day of the unveiling in County Square – including Ken Dodd, who will remove a specially made cover to reveal the £60,000 likeness. Celebration Ale will be available to buy on the unveiling day.



The Statue of Laurel and Hardy has been lifted by crane into its new home in Ulverston's County Square in front of Coronation Hall, it will be unveiled on April 19th by Ken Dodd.

Ulverston Stan Laurel statue - cover display unveiled
North West Evening Mail

THE cover which will be used in the unveiling of Ulverston's Laurel and Hardy statue is being created by children and adults in the town.  Pupils from Sandside Lodge School and adults from the Old Library day centre have been designing and putting together the giant drape which will conceal the legendary pair until the big moment.

The teams studied a variety of Stan and Ollie films and memorabilia before starting on the five square metre cover.  The adults from the Old Library have produced the centre section which is decorated with bowler hats, as famously worn by the comedy pair.  And children from Sandside Lodge have created a filmstrip which runs around the edge of the cover.

It features 88 individual Laurel and Hardy-related designs, each thought out and drawn by a separate Sandside pupil.  The cover will then be dismantled and handed back to the school and the day centre to serve as a memento of the day.


New home unveiled for Laurel & Hardy museum

Gino Dercola has been in touch with the following:

NEW USE: The Roxy site in Ulverston
The attraction is set to move to space within the Roxy, in Brogden Street, this month.  The move was announced at a meeting of the licensing committee yesterday when proposals to transform the Art Deco building into an arts and entertainment centre were given the seal of approval.  Museum owner, Marion Grave, hopes to start a new chapter on the museum dedicated to the lives of the silver-screen comedy duo by opening the doors to the public on April 1. Mrs Grave, whose father started the museum in Upper Brooke Street more than 30 years ago, described the move as fate.  She said: “Everything just seems to have fallen into place. We had searched for new premises in the town for years but there was nothing big enough that we could afford.  We had just about reached the point of despair when we were offered the chance to move into the Roxy and we seized it.”

The museum will form just one part of the new Roxy Arts and Entertainment Centre – granted a premises license after a mammoth four-hour meeting at the Coronation Hall.  The venue will also provide a 400-capacity events hall, cafe bar and gallery space for contemporary and local artists.  The mastermind behind the venture, Gary Robinson, owner of Barrow Island’s Canteen Media and Arts Centre, said he now hoped to attract international acts, well-known stand-up comedians and live bands to Ulverston.

Ulverston town centre resident Mr Robinson, 39, said it had been a “great day for Ulverston”.  He said: “We got what we asked for and people have taken what we said seriously. We want to operate the Roxy in a similar way to The Brewery in Kendal – with a mix of entertainment and arts.  We have listened to people’s concerns and the proof will now be in the pudding. There’s now a responsibility on the people of Ulverston who said they wanted this. They need to enjoy the entertainment at the centre and the area responsibly and I think they will.”

Gino goes on to report that:

Hollywood pulling plug on hospital for its own:
LOS ANGELES -- In 1940, Hollywood humanitarian Jean Hersholt purchased 48 acres of walnut and orange groves in the far reaches of the San Fernando Valley for a hospital to be run by the Motion Picture Relief Fund.   Hersholt, a popular character actor of the day, was president of the fund, which had been founded 20 years earlier by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and others to aid needy members of the film industry.

Among those attending the opening ceremonies were Robert Young, Shirley Temple, Ronald Reagan and Hersholt, who is probably best known today as the namesake of a special Oscar recognizing charitable work - most recently given to Jerry Lewis.   For the next 60 years, the hospital provided treatment for stars and janitors, directors and secretaries. Those who could afford to pay their way - such as Norma Shearer - did so. Those who were broke -and there were many in the topsy-turvy film industry - were taken care of.

Now, Hollywood has been shocked with news that the hospital itself is passing away, a victim of red ink and an ailing economy.   "We studied the problem for three years," says Ken Scherer, president of what is now the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation. "We found that we had an operating deficit of $10 million a year. We reached the conclusion that the best thing to do was to take some of those dollars and invest them in programs that would reach more people. The aging population wants to live in their own homes and not come to the Motion Picture and Television Fund."


Praise for workers on town centre revamp

The Westmorland Gazette reports that the mayor of Ulverston has praised workers for helping to keep the South Lakeland town running like clockwork.

Work is currently ongoing in County Square as part of a major revamp, which will conclude with the unveiling of the Laurel and Hardy statue in April by comic Ken Dodd.

And at this evening's (Monday) town council meeting, Coun Janette Jenkinson said: "I would like to congratulate the contractors (Hanson Contractors).

"They are keeping the town open as best they can. The town is still open for business so well done to them."

Eric Woods Reports:

I have been reflecting on how well the Statue Appeal has gone in the last year and I can't help thinking what a great idea (from Pat Finney) the 100 Club was.

In March 2008 we had £48,554.64 in total donations, and on 17th January 2009 we had £55,669.63. That's quite amazing. What a growth rate! We're steadily heading towards the total needed for the statue. What a feeling it will be when the statue is unveiled. We'll surely have a little wry smile thinking of all the folk who have been involved and all the daft ideas they have used to get us to the total.

I have made a personal commitment to the Ulverston Council that the statue will be paid off in full, and 100% owned by the Sons by the last week in March. The extra funds need to be in our bank account in Ulverston by the end of February; I will then reconcile the account balance and make the final payment to sculptor Graham Ibbeson.

Whatever funds your tent can raise and deposit in the account this month will be gratefully received, we're desperately close now and we simply can't fail at the last hurdle.

Eric Woods

* On 1st February 2009 we were still £1,614.27 short of the total needed.


Important Ulverston Museum UPDATE

Marion Grave writes...

Hello. I hope at last I can answer some questions. The move has been a nightmare. The original plan was to move to a warehouse on the outskirts of town which offered lots of room and free parking. I have been ready to sign the lease for months and planned to move in September but the landlord and local supermarket who own the land have messed me about such a lot I have had to give up the project. I tried to make it work, I had meeting after meeting but just couldn't get an agreement. Lots of promises have been made but not kept. Just as I decided we could not go there a room became vacant in the local cinema which is suitable and I am on my way to the solicitors to finalize the contract and hope to move and be open at the end of March.  After everything moving so slowly for so long this has happened very quickly and it seems almost like fate. I have not been able to say anything because I have not known what to say. I have been so upset about everything going wrong but now I am hoping we can look forward to a long and happy future. I think everyone will love the new site, how fitting is that, the stage area of the old cinema right in the centre of town. I hope everyone will now understand the difficult position I have been in. By the way if anyone would like to help with the move all offers will be gratefully received.



Neil Evans administrator of The Laurel and Hardy Forum is reporting that Eric Woods has informed him The Laurel and Hardy Statue will be unveiled by none other than MR KEN DODD on April 19th, 2009.  Eric reports that the Statue Appeal is still about £3500 short of its target. 


Dave Tomlinson has been in touch to say that the Ken Dodd tickets are now on sale. Box Office 01229 587140 - 10 - 4 p.m. Mon-Saturday.  Prices range from £18-£20, tickets are limited and Sons travelling to Ulverston should book as soon as possible as a good many locals will also be buying tickets.


With about 3 months to the unveiling [Sun 19th April] we are still short of the total funds required to pay for the Laurel & Hardy statue in Ulverston. We need a little over £3,000 more.

We owe the cash to Graham Ibbeson who has been ever so patient waiting for the balance of the money, we've paid him £46,000 to date.

It is our wish to be able to pay-off the statue prior to the unveiling, but in truth, we are GIVING the statue to the people of Ulverston and in law, we don't actually own it yet.

So, please do your best, we've all worked hard and long on this project, we're so close now, please just one last push and we'll do it. Whatever you can raise in the coming weeks will help, if we all do just a little more, we'll be there!

Let's look forward to a sunny day in Ulverston when we can see the results of all of our efforts!

Fraternally yours,



The Nutty Nut News Network is proud to say that we are the latest and twentieth member of the Laurel and Hardy Statue Appeal 100 Club. The Networks own Dean McKeown raised this money (the second such amount he has raised since January) by selling some Stan Laurel Interview CD's on ebay and along with Willie McIntyre's help he ran a stall at Willie's Call of the Cuckoo Tent Panopticon meetings.  Among the items on sale were rare brand new Laurel and Hardy dolls, a selection of glossy images, DVD's, key rings, coasters and CD's.  Dean says:

'I'd like to thank all those individuals who supported my fund raisers, every penny will be well worth it when Sons around the World can enjoy seeing the Statue finally in place in Ulverston.  I especially have to thank Willie McIntyre for his support and help in selling some items.  Until next April I will continue to raise what I can for this worthwhile cause.'

The unveiling of the Laurel and Hardy Statue in Ulverston will take place in April 2009.