THIS is the statue that fans of world famous comedian Benny Hill have been waiting years to see in Southampton.

Dressed as his popular character Fred Scuttle, giving his trademark salute, Benny is ready to be cast in bronze and placed where people can marvel at the tribute.

But despite the amazing attention to detail on the 6ft 6in figure and a campaign to raise funding for the bronzing process, a question mark still hangs over where to place the iconic statue.

Currently resting in sculptor Graham Ibbeson’s workshop, the fibreglass cast of the comedy legend, who is still entertaining television audiences across the US, Australia and Japan, is in need of a permanent home.

Vintage Benny Hill clip

“It would be great to see Benny Hill greet people off the cruise ships. Visitors from around the world would love it,” said Graham.

The 57-year-old sculptor recently won praise for bringing a statue of comedian Les Dawson to Lytham St Annes in Lancashire which has already become a successful tourist attraction.

He was also the man behind the statue of Eric Morecambe dancing on Morecambe seafront and is working on a Laurel and Hardy statue which is due to be unveiled in Stan Laurel’s birthplace, Ulverston in Cumbria, early next year.

Working with Cornerstone Marketing Ltd, Graham’s previous works have been paid for through public and corporate fundraising and the team say they could offer the statue to Southampton for free if they find a suitable place for it.

“It really seems a shame that we have got Eric dancing on Morecambe seafront and Les telling a gag 50 miles down the road but we don’t have Benny Hill saluting people in Southampton.”

“All the council needs to do is find a suitable location and adopt the statue so it is looked after.

“The casts have been made and whenever people see it they are amazed that it hasn’t been put up somewhere.”

Jim Cadnam of Cornerstone said he and Graham were determined to find a home for the statue but that Southampton City Council had so far shown no interest despite three other councils seeking to bring the Benny Hill tribute to their regions.

“Five million people watched the live unveiling of the Les Dawson statue on TV and people were queuing up to have their pictures taken next to it,” said Jim.

A spokesman for Southampton City Council said it was arranging a meeting with Cornerstone to discuss the statue.

Councillor John Hannides, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage said: “There are currently no plans or funding for a statue of Benny Hill in Southampton. However we would be happy to work with any person or group to help them find suitable sites and funding in the city.”