LAST of the Summer Wine fans hope work on a statue commemorating actor Bill Owen could start as early as the beginning of next year.
The plan will see a bronze sculpture of his loveable character, Compo, erected in the heart of Holmfirth, where the gentle comedy is set.
The series - now into its 32nd year of filming - is the world's longest-running TV comedy show.
Bill died in 1999 at the age of 85, having played the roguish Compo for 26 years.
Sculptor John Alder, from Somerset, who knew Bill, has been commissioned to create the £34,000 bronze tribute. It will stand in King's Head Gardens, Huddersfield Road.
A sketch created by the artist shows the statue leaning up against a dry stone wall in a scene reminiscent of the show which is broadcast around the world.
Bill's son, Tom, who joined the series as Compo's long-lost son in 1999, officially launched the memorial fund.
So far, £5,000 has been raised. It is hoped the rest of the cash can be collected by the end of the year.
Brian Kushner, an American fan of the comedy, has given £1,500.
Tom commented: "Dad would be absolutely over the moon to know this was happening."
He said of his father's continuing impact on the show: "It is really quite extraordinary. He is buried just up the road and you really do feel he's sitting on your shoulder. Although he's gone, he will always remain a huge part of Last of the Summer Wine."
John Alder said the sculpture would take about six months to make.
"This is a special commission and I'm absolutely sure I can do it justice.
"I knew Bill. I met him several times and he was a really interesting character. I really loved talking to him. He was so important in his own right, not just as Compo.
"It's a tribute to Bill Owen, not to Compo."
The quiet King's Head Garden could also be reflagged with Yorkshire stone.
Names of other Last of the Summer Wine characters would be carved into the flags as a lasting memorial to the series.
Andrew Bray, a trustee of the Bill Owen Memorial Trust, said: "The statue of Compo will be a fitting tribute to Bill."