Museum tribute hope for our Les

Les Dawson
Les Dawson

Les Dawson’s widow Tracy wants to open a museum in Fylde dedicated to the much-loved comedian.

Her hope is that it can be situated close to his statue on St Annes seafront and she would ideally like to see it open in time to mark the 25th anniversary of his death next June.

Tracy has been encouraged by the success of the newly-refurbished Peace and Happiness Garden on St Annes seafront, which includes items in tribute to Les alongside his statue, which has been on the site for almost a decade.

Les was 62 when he died of a heart attack in June 1993.

Initial discussions over the museum idea have been held with Fylde Council’s tourism department on Tracy’s behalf by Fiona Boismason, chairman of St Annes In Bloom, the volunteer group which carried out the work on the seafront garden.

Tracy says it is too early to say how the museum would be funded but is keen to bring the idea to fruition in time for next summer - and build on the clear appeal for Les memorabilia which was apparent in a limited run display of items from his life and career held in Lytham nine years ago.

In 2008, more than 200 items of memorabilia, including the comic legend’s This Is Your Life books and costumes, went on show for a month at Lytham Heritage Centre and attracted thousands of fans.

“That was a great success and now I hope we can do something permanent to honour his memory and bring even more of his fans to Fylde,” said Tracy.

“It’s wonderful to put everything on show for the public and I have so much material stowed away that the fans would really enjoy.

“I love the presents from fans, the billboards and the typewriter. Les had an electronic typewriter, but he hated it and insisted on using an old one to write all his books.

“When the display was on in Lytham, I remember people coming from all over and ladies going off shopping in town while their husbands spent ages in the Heritage Centre watching Les’s performance on the TVs we had set up in there.

“We get feedback all the time about visitors to the statue and it would be wonderful to tie that and a museum together in time for the anniversary.

“I do hope it comes off.”

The statue of Les on St Annes seafront was unveiled in 2008 and its continuing appeal has been acknowledged in the recent refurbishment of the Peace and Happiness Garden around it by the St Annes In Bloom group of volunteers.

An old piano and a ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’ plant are among new items placed in the garden in tribute to two of Les’s trademarks.

Fiona said: “He is still very much loved and a museum in his honour is a really exciting idea. I have had an initial chat with the council about the idea but that is as far as it has gone at this stage.”