Many people know Eric Morecambe as one half of the comedy genius that is Morecambe and Wise.  However, fewer people are aware that Eric was also a keen bird watcher.  His home town was nearby Morecambe, from which he took his name, and he spent his childhood watching wildlife in the area. RSPB Morecambe Bay nature reserve is home to quarter of a million birds that rely on it every year.  Morecambe is particularly famous for its mud flats, and it is these that provide an important feeding ground for species such as oystercatchers, redshanks, lapwings, black-tailed godwits and avocets.

When Eric Morecambe sadly passed away in 1984, the council wanted to pay tribute to such a well loved national treasure.  In 1986, an Eric Morecambe pool and hide were constructed on the saltmarsh bit of the reserve, in memory of Eric's love of wildlife.  The hide had served us well for almost 30 years, but unfortunately, due t the amount of rain, wind and high tides it has seen over that time, it had fallen into a state of disrepair.  However, thanks to generous funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Lancashire Environment Fund and Higher Level Stewardship, we have just replaced the hide.  This new and improved version, constructed by expert hide builders Gilleard Bros Ltd, is much bigger, has larger windows for better viewing and a ramp for wheelchair and pushchair access. Given the special nature of this memorial hide, we couldn't let the completion of it go unmarked.

On Saturday 27 October, we held the official opening of the new Eric Morecambe hide and invited all the funders, supporters and sponsors.  We are so pleased that the guest of honour was Gail Stuart, Eric's daughter, who brought with her  further special guests; Eric's chauffeur Mike Fountain, and Eric Morecambe impersonator Bob More, as well as family and friends.  Gail certainly brought us sunshine, as the weather couldn't have been more perfect.  At 2.20pm, Gail cut the ribbon with a heart felt speech about her father and his love of the area and it's wildlife (at which point Jone and I got a little emotional).  Photographers from local papers were there and I got everyone to strike up the Eric Morecambe pose.

Following the ribbon cutting, we all enjoyed fizz and nibbles in the hide.  Gail said her dad would have been "utterly delighted"  with the hide and we were utterly delighted to have Gail there to celebrate and keep the family link with the hide.

If you haven't yet been to see it, why not come on over and pay a visit to our lovely new hide, where there has been regular sightings of a kingfisher recently. It's a fantastic spot to sit and appreciate the wonderful wildlife that calls Morecambe Bay home, just as Eric would have done when he was a lad.

Striking the famous Eric Morecambe pose! From left to right: Annabel Rushton (Leighton Moss Marketing Officer), Robin Horner (Leighton Moss Site Manager), Bob More (Eric Morecambe Impersonator), Gail Stuart (Eric's daughter) and Jacqui Fereday (Leighton Moss Visitor Services Manager). Photo copyright Joan Bryden Photography

Lovely Gail cutting the ribbon! (copyright Joan Bryden Photography)

Gail enjoying Morecambe Bay's wildlife, just as her dad did. Eric looky-likey Bob was a fantastic touch to the day. (copyright Joan Bryden Photography)