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Rap superstar Snoop Dogg joins campaign to honour Benny Hill

First published in News

HE was the much-loved Hampshire comic who entertained millions with his madcap antics.

And now a bid to build a statue of Benny Hill is gaining support from A-list celebrities – including US rap legend Snoop Dogg.

Twenty years after Benny Hill died, Southampton – the city of his birth – has yet to commemorate one of its most distinguished sons.

But a fundraising campaign is under way to immortalise the comedy hero.

Journalist and broadcaster Garry Bushell says his statue campaign has the support of Barbara Windsor, Roy Hudd, Bobby Ball, Brian Conley, Bradley Walsh, Joe Pasquale, former Hill’s Angel Sue Upton – and the rapper Snoop Dogg.

The singer has said Benny Hill is one of his favourite entertainers.

In a recent interview he said: “I love Benny Hill. He was one of my favourites of all time. Like, the way Benny did it, he was just amazing.

“Just seeing how he put songs together and comedy and the timing and the sketches. He was way ahead of his time.

“I would like to play Benny Hill in the Benny Hill movie. I’ll even paint my face white.”

Mr Bushell began the statue campaign in 2006 but the project foundered through lack of funds.

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Sculptor Graham Ibbeson even designed a 6ft 8in fibreglass model of the proposed statue which currently stands in a Leeds businessmen's club.

But a further £40,000 is needed to create a bronze version.

Mr Bushell will be organising a celebrity cabaret event later this year to boost funds and The Heritage Foundation has promised to help with fundraising.

Southampton City Council’s head of leisure, Councillor John Hannides, said the council would be happy to find a location for the statue of the comedian, who was born in Bridge Street, now Bernard Street, in 1925.

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