- Video report by ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman
A statue of much-loved comedian and actress Victoria Wood was unveiled in her home town today, three years after she lost her battle with cancer.
The two-metre high sculpture depicts her posed in her trademark stage stance, microphone in her right hand, apparently enjoying her audience’s reaction.
The statue takes pride of place in Library Gardens, off Silver Street, in Bury town centre – opposite Bury Library where Wood used to steal books because she was too shy to ask a librarian how to join.
She later sent the library an apology letter in 1999, enclosing £100 to pay for the stolen books.
Created by Graham Ibbeson who sculpted a famous memorial to Eric Morecambe, the life-sized bronze memorial was commissioned by Victoria’s brother Chris Foote-Wood, as well as members of her literary estate and Bury Council.
Dame Judi Dench, 82, reportedly pledged £1,000 for the work which was estimated to cost £30,000.
However, the process of creating the memorial was not without controversy and at one point it became the subject of a family feud.
Two years ago it was reported that Mr Foote-Wood was rowing with other relatives and her children about the design of the sculpture to the star who was 62 when she passed away in April 2016 at her Highgate, London, home.
It was claimed Mr Foote-Wood wanted the life-size statue to be of Miss Wood as her character Bren in BBC sitcom Dinnerladies.
The show introduced Miss Wood's talents to a new generation and sealed her position as a much-loved household name.
However Miss Wood's children Grace and Henry Durham from her marriage to Geoffrey Durham, a British comedy magician and actor who was known for many years as "the Great Soprendo", wanted a sculpture that was more tasteful.
Speaking to ITV News, Mr Foote-Wood said: ''It was very difficult to choose a particular pose but we decided to take her in her younger days when she's captivating her audience on stage.''
A multi Bafta award-winning comedian, writer and actor, Wood was born in Prestwich and attended Bury Grammar School for Girls.
A full weekend of events is being arranged to coincide with the unveiling, including a one-off performance in Bury by co-stars in her TV sitcom Dinnerladies.