Bill Owen Memorial update

Tea Time Tidbit for the week of August 5, 2019

Tea Time Tidbit

Bill Owen as "Compo" in
Last of the Summer Wine

It’s hard to believe that it’s been twenty years since the death of Last of the Summer Wine favorite Bill Owen, who played Compo in the series and who died on July 12, 1999. It’s equally hard to believe that a memorial to the beloved actor, for which funds were raised over a decade ago, has yet to be erected.

The memorial remains languishing in a local quarry, while local councilors attempt to figure out where to install the four tonne structure and how to fund its transportation and placement. It appears that after the councilor who initially championed the memorial was voted out of office, plans came to a standstill.

“I'm sure Johnson Wellfield Quaries Ltd, who kindly donated £1,000 towards the scheme are sick of having it at their premises,” said Holmfirth greengrocer Andrew Bray.

Bray was just 11 years old when he first met Owen, who on his first visit to Holmfirth was in need of directions to his hotel. The youngster obliged and met Owen again a few days later while out fishing. It was the start of a 45-year-long friendship, and as such Bray feels a responsibility to see the memorial project to completion.

"It's been a nightmare and got very political at one point. I could write a book about it,” said Bray in a recent interview.

The £8,000 that was raised to fund the memorial came from fans of the series from all over the world, which is something that local Holmfirth pastor Ian Gooch find troubling.

Gooch, who arrived in Holmfirth 19 years ago, has been one of those involved in trying to get the memorial erected.

"I feel gutted because Bill did so much for Holmfirth and so much charity work. It's heartbreaking that's its dragged on for so long,” said Gooch. “I'm concerned; I want to see the project completed because it's not fair to the people who have contributed.”

Owen’s son Tom, who became one of the lead characters in Last of the Summer Wine, following his father’s death, is reportedly “infuriated.”

"I have absolutely no answers,” said Owen. “It's been going on for so long and there's been so much prevarication. I would like to see it completed."

You can see Last of the Summer Wine weekday afternoons at 1:30pm on MPT.

To contact Heather:
E-mail: heather@mpt.org
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

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Afternoon Tea is Maryland Public Television's weekday presentation of British programs.
Our host and Tea Lady is Heather Sanderson.
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