Fez-wearing funnyman Tommy Cooper could reappear in his former Sussex home.

The comedian's niece and an Eastbourne councillor want to erect a statue to him in the town Before his death in 1984 when he collapsed and died on a live TV variety show, Cooper had been a familiar sight around the town for decades.

He had bought a holiday home near Motcombe Park in Eastbourne with his wife Gwen, who was born in the town. He is still fondly remembered in his adoptive home town. For the past ten years Cooper's niece Sabrina Light has run Cooper's magic, a joke and magic shop.

She is now backing the campaign to honour her much-loved uncle in the town. Even as a child Sabrina was learning the secrets of a good gag by helping her Uncle Tommy with some his world-famous tricks during his stage shows.

A career in selling jokes and tricks is something Tommy Cooper would almost certainly have approved of, as is Sabrina's move to Eastbourne. Sabrina, 45, said: "I moved here because my husband is a local man, not for any other reason, but we love it here and I can see why Tommy liked it so much."

She believes a statue would be a great honour for her family that Eastbourne is officially recognising one of its most famous residents.

She said: "When Gwen sold their house she didn't want a plaque on the outside as it could have been disruptive for the new owners with all the visitors, so it was decided not to honour him that way. I've spoken to her since and she approves of the idea of a statue as it is done tastefully."

Coun Gary Potter, who knew Tommy Cooper while he was growing up in the Old Town area of Eastbourne, is to seek council approval for a statue in the town.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.