WORK is set to start in the New Year on the long-awaited memorial statue of Last Of The Summer Wine star Bill Owen.
The life-size bronze figure, which has already been given the green light by Kirklees Council planning chiefs, will stand in the Kings Head gardens in Holmfirth - opposite the show's famous tea-room on Huddersfield Road.
A former Royal College of Art scholar John Alder, from Somerset, who knew Bill, has been commissioned to create the statue, which is likely to feature Bill's much-loved character Compo leaning against a dry stone wall.
There could also be provision for well-wishers to make a donation to a memorial fund.
Bill's son, Tom, who plays Compo's long-lost son, Tom Simmonite, in the long-running comedy TV series, said: "We have waited long enough and I felt that we should start using the money so kindly donated by people all over the world for Bill's memorial."
The work will begin despite the Bill Owen Memorial Fund - launched by Tom - still being desperately short of cash. Originally it was hoped that the appeal would be able raise £50,000, with £16,000 of the money going to local projects and a Summer Wine exhibition.
So far, only £10,000 has been raised.
Bill died in 1999 at the age of 85, having played Compo for 26 years.
Tom, who joined the series in 1999, added: "We still need a lot more cash, so please keep donations coming in."
Cheques in aid of the fund should be made payable to Bill Owen Statue Memorial Trust and sent to The Secretary, Holme Valley Business Association, 2 Hey Top, Cote Lane, Holmfirth HD9 2RP.