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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Hopkins to unveil Cooper statue
Tommy Cooper
Tommy Cooper's father Thomas was a miner from Caerphilly
Sir Anthony Hopkins has agreed to unveil a statue of Tommy Cooper in the comic legend's home town, Caerphilly.

The Port-Talbot born actor is patron of the Tommy Cooper Society, which raised 40,000 for the 9ft (2.7m) bronze.

The almost-finished statue is likely to be unveiled later this year, coinciding with the Oscar-winner's 70th birthday.

Organisers said the star, who is known to enjoy impersonating Cooper, told them he was "honoured and happy" to be asked to attend the ceremony.

The Silence Of The Lambs star, a big fan of the late comic and magician, became a patron of the Tommy Cooper Society last year

Secretary Tudor Jones explained that they had initially contacted him requesting he send a message to read out at their annual general meeting.

Sir Anthony Hopkins
He knows all the gags and he's a big fan - he can do the voice, he's very good
Tudor Jones, Tommy Cooper Society

"Instead of wishing us all the best, he said he would be honoured and happy to come and unveil the statue," said Mr Jones. "We're absolutely thrilled to bits."

In May,he spoke of his plans to return to Port Talbot for a party on New Year's Eve to celebrate his 70th birthday.

Sir Anthony's busy schedule had prevented him taking up several invites from the society to visit Wales but it is hoped he can now tie the unveiling ceremony in with his birthday visit.

Mr Jones said: "I asked him to become patron as I'd seen him several times on chat shows like Parkinson.

"He always seemed to get the conversation around to Tommy Cooper. He knows all the gags and he's a big fan. He can do the voice - he's very good."

Mr Jones was treated to a private performance of the impersonation when the star phoned from Malibu to accept the patronage.

"Tony came on the line with a good Port Talbot accent...I said we knew what a fan he was and how good he was at doing the impression.

"He started to chuckle and went straight into a minute or two of saying some of the jokes."

Her dad looked upon himself as a Welshman from the top of his black curly hair to the bottom of his size 13 boots
From a letter from Tommy Cooper's daughter

The society was set up four years ago aimed at erecting a statue of the comic in the town of his birth.

He was born in 1921 in Llwyn Onn Street, Caerphilly, before leaving with his family as a small boy to live in Exeter.

Cooper died in 1984 after a TV and stage career revolving around magic routines which went wrong.

Standing on a 4ft (1.2m) plinth, the statue will depict the late comic wearing his trademark fez and be located opposite the castle in the centre of the town.

Sculptor James Done, who also designed boxer Johnny Owen's statue in Merthyr Tydfil, will complete the clay sculpture within the next month and it will take a further two months to be cast in bronze.

The society says its main objective is to emphasise that Cooper was born in Caerphilly.

Cooper's daughter Vicky is a honorary member of the society and in a letter to the society, she recalled how proud her father was of his Welsh roots.

Mr Jones said: "She said her dad looked upon himself as a Welshman from the top of his black curly hair to the bottom of his size 13 boots."




SEE ALSO
Hopkins return home for 70th bash
31 May 07 |  South West Wales
Tommy Cooper statue's head start
29 Jul 06 |  South East Wales
Hundreds join Cooper fun run
25 Apr 04 |  South East Wales
Tommy Cooper statue campaign
11 Jun 03 |  South East Wales

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