Page last updated at 17:43 GMT, Sunday, 19 April 2009 18:43 UK

Statue honours Laurel and Hardy

Ken Dodd and impersonators unveil the statues
Impersonators accompanied comedian Ken Dodd at the unveiling

A bronze statue immortalising the comedy genius of Laurel and Hardy has been unveiled in the Cumbrian town where Stan Laurel was born.

Fundraisers spent 10 years raising £60,000 for the sculpture which was placed outside the Coronation Hall theatre in Ulverston.

Comedian Ken Dodd, 81, wrote a tribute to mark the occasion.

In a partnership lasting 31 years, the comedy duo made 106 films spanning the silent era until the 1950s.

Laurel and Hardy made the world laugh
Comedian Ken Dodd

Hundreds of people attended the unveiling, including members of The Sons of the Desert fan club who helped raise funds for the sculptures.

Dodd said he was "tickled" to be chosen to unveil the memorial.

"Laurel and Hardy made the world laugh. They were the kings of comedy," he said.

Fan Eric Woods, from Widnes, Cheshire, said: "The magic of Laurel and Hardy was that they portrayed two ordinary guys who were just trying to make their way in life.

"Life gave them a few knocks but they picked themselves up and tried again. There is a little bit of Stan and Ollie in all of us."

'Uplifted my soul'

The statue was designed and created by Graham Ibbeson who is also known for his work on the statue of Eric Morecambe.

Stan Laurel was born in June 1890 in Argyll Street, Ulverston, and returned to the town with Ollie in 1947 when the duo waved to a crowd of fans from the balcony of the Coronation Hall.

Mr Ibbeson said: "I sculpted Stan and Ollie over a winter period a few years ago, it was cold and miserable in the workshop, however, when I took the cover off the boys every morning it uplifted my soul.

"Stan and Ollie were looking down on me with grins on their faces, and I was looking back at the greatest clowns that have walked this Earth with affection and joyous memories."

The statue is the centrepiece of a major project to improve the centre of Ulverston.

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