Standing within the peaceful and ornamental gardens opposite St Annes Pier, this 6ft brass statue is the work of Barnsley sculptor Graham Ibbeson. Famed for his sculptures of Eric Morecambe in Morecambe and Cary Grant in Bristol, he was the clear choice to commemorate Dawson’s warm personality in this lasting tribute.
Proud northerner Les Dawson made no secret of his love and passion for the Fylde Coast, and when the statue fundraising committee was formed in 2007 it was the obvious location for the memorial. It was unveiled in 2008 by his wife Tracy, and his daughter Charlotte, who was only eight months of age when her father passed away in 1993. The tribute aimed to provide a special place for family, friends and fans to feel connected to the late comedian.
Growing up in working-class Manchester, Les left school at fourteen and following a succession of dead-end jobs he moved to Paris to pursue a career in writing. To make ends meet he played piano in a local brothel, only to return to England a few months later where he maintained a day job whilst playing piano in a local pub at night.
It wasn’t an easy road to fame, but by the 1970s Les Dawson was a household name with his signature blend of narrative humour and dry wit. His jokes about marital life, mothers-in-law and off-key piano-playing would become iconic. He was a familiar face on television screens across Britain, hosting Blankety Blank, The Good Old Days and Sez Les.
Les Dawson was a unique comedy talent, musician and writer whose affinity with the Fylde Coast is memorialised in one of his favourite spots.