Is that Wise?

Ernie's sculpture underwhelms

A statue of Ernie Wise has been unveiled in his home town – but not everyone is happy with it.

One resident of Morley, near Leeds, told the BBC: ‘It doesn't even look like him. It looks as if he’s falling over and it's frightening people.’

And one council official told local newspaper The Visitor: We waited ages for this and I can't see any likeness at all. They had better put a name plate on it.’

However other people said the statue, which shows Wise in a song-and-dance pose, would be good for the town.

The 7ft stone figure – created by local sculptor Melanie Wilks – has been erected near Morley Pavilion, where Wise performed as a boy.

She said: ‘I have captured the spirit, the essence of the man, in my interpretation of Ernie Wise. I believe I have pushed the material as far as it will go to convey the meaning I want to communicate.’

Wise's widow Doreen paid £8,000 towards the statue, and joked she had been looking forward to the unveiling ‘because that's the only time Ernie will be over six feet tall’.

She added: ‘I think it's great, I think Melanie's done a wonderful job. No statue ever looks like the person, let's face it.’

Wise died in March 1999, at the age of 73.

Published: 5 Mar 2010

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