A statue of actor Gracie Fields has been unveiled in her hometown of Rochdale.
Fields was born in the town in 1898, and went on to enjoy a career as a singer and comedian. She died in 1979, aged 81.
The statue was unveiled by performer Roy Hudd, a friend of Fields who once shared an agent with her.
He said: “Gracie meant a great deal to me. She could take an ordinary song and turn it into something spectacular. She was a great actress and she told a story with her music. The statue is just her. She could sing everything: opera, comedy and ballads, and it’s all in that pose.”
The statue was created by Sean Hedges-Quinn, who has also sculpted figures including Bobby Robson.
However, he said he rarely made sculptures of female figures. Hedges-Quinn said: “I’ve completed over a dozen public commissions over a 15-year period and not one has been a woman; not through lack of effort, but lack of opportunities. It’s a sad fact that public sculpts of women are so rare to such a point that if you were to take statues of the Virgin Mary, semi-nude goddesses or royalty out of the equation, the number of statues representing women in the UK would amount to little more than a dozen.”
He added: “That’s why I was really excited at the prospect of sculpting Gracie.”