Friends of the late Cornish comedian Jethro have raised £15,000 towards the cost of a life-sized statue in his memory. 

Almost 500 well-wishers have contributed to the pot, enabling the fundraising committee to give Wadebridge sculptor Richard Austin the go-ahead to cast his design in bronze. 

As well as taking donations, a trio of friends – Tank Sherman, Peter Southwell and Rebel Dean – have been selling merchandise including beer, DVDs and T-shirts to add to the total. 

Pete and Rebel attended the Royal Cornwall Show in a bid to reach the required amount and met a steady flow of new supporters. 

“Everyone thought it was a great cause, and it raised enough to pay for the statue, which was our aim,” said Rebel. “People showed great interest in our progress, with the most commonly asked question being where it will be placed.”

The initial plan was to site the statue at Camborne railway station in reference to one of Jethro’s most enduring jokes with the punchline “Train don’t stop Camborne Wednesdays”.

However, a plaque to Jethro was unveiled there in February, and two memorials in one place was considered “overkill”. Rebel confirmed that the team were in discussions with numerous locations, including major landmarks, that might be willing to host the artwork, which depicts Jethro “in his prime”: in his 50s, wearing his trademark shirt and waistcoat and holding a microphone.

Artist Richard Austin is well known for his lifelike sculptures, which include the captain on the King Harry Ferry and the money collector on the quayside at Trelissick, and the 15ft Warrior of the Surf at Watergate Bay.

His creations use his own patented technique of atrius bronze casting, which allows people to invest in full-size sculptures at a fraction of the cost of foundry bronze.

“We said right from the beginning that unless we all agreed it was really good, we wouldn’t settle for it,” said Rebel. “It needed to be that good – and it is. In fact, it’s quite amazing.”

Richard – who saw Jethro perform at Cornwall Coliseum during his comedy heyday – has already completed a clay cast of the great man’s face, which has been signed off by close family members. He anticipates completing the work in two months.

The trio are still taking donations, and any surplus funds will be donated to Children’s Hospice South West, a charity close to Jethro’s heart.

“We all adored Jethro and want to honour this great man,” said Pete.

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