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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 June, 2003, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
Tommy Cooper statue campaign
Tommy Cooper
Tommy Cooper's daughter is supporting the statue campaign
A campaign is under way to erect a huge bronze statue of legendary comic Tommy Cooper to mark his links with Caerphilly.

Few people outside the town realise that the comedian, who died in 1984, was born in Caerphilly and spent the early years of his life there.

Now, however, campaigners are trying to raise up to 50,000 to build the 9ft statue and also to provide comic scholarships for young people wanting to follow in his size 13 footsteps.

The Tommy Cooper Society will get its campaign rolling at the Big Cheese festival in Caerphilly Castle in July.

They even have the backing of Cooper's daughter.

On stage he was funny but off stage when he was relaxed, he was even funnier
Cooper's cousin, Betty Thomas

Vicky Cooper said her father Tommy was proud to have been born in Wales - and would love the idea of a statue in Caerphilly.

"It is wonderful idea and our Tommy was a real Welshman from the tips of his black, curly hair to the bottom of his size 13 shoes."

Cooper was born in Caerphilly in March 1921 in Llwyn Onn Street.

Famed for his trademark red fez and catchphrase "just like that", he became one of the most popular entertainers of the 20th century.

He died in 1984 after collapsing on stage in London.

Cooper spent his early childhood there before moving to London, but many of his relatives still live in south Wales, and two are on the steering committee looking to erect the statue.


His cousin Betty Thomas, 70, from Trethomas said they needed to raise awareness of the comedian's talent.

"On stage he was funny but off stage when he was relaxed, he was even funnier."

The Asda supermarket in the town has already got behind the campaign, selling Tommy Cooper badges to support the fund.

Caerphilly Castle
The statue would be put up near Caerphilly Castle

"Local people are really getting behind this," said Angus Donaldson, who is chairing the committee.

"We are determined to get this lasting memorial to the great man."

"We are looking forward to seeing this giant statue of Tommy Cooper near Caerphilly Castle, pointing towards the street where he was born."

A meeting of the campaign committee will be held in the tourist centre in Caerphilly next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a campaign to get a similar statue erected to Cooper in Eastbourne - a favourite haunt of the comedian - has faltered because of the lack of local support.

Sabrina Light, who runs Cooper's Magic Shop in Eastbourne, said they were still hoping to get a bust to honour the entertainer in London.

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