|Rik Mayall Memorial Bench Unveiled in Hammersmith|
Crowd gathers to pay tribute to comedian at "Bottom Island"
A large crowd gathered in Hammersmith on Friday afternoon for the official unveiling of a memorial bench for much-loved and missed comedian Rik Mayall.
The ceremony is the result of an online petition to have the bench replaced on the junction of Queen Caroline Street and Hammersmith Bridge Road - now nicknamed Bottom Island.
The bench was featured in opening credits of the TV sitcom Bottom, which starred Rik and comedy partner Ade Admondson, and in 2010 Rik told the BBCP: " "Hammersmith is my stomping ground I suppose. And one of the great opening credit sequences was for the telly show Bottom, where you had Richie and Eddie – me and Ade – sitting on a bench.
"If you were to come to the end of King Street where it meets the big roundabout to get to the Hammersmith Apollo, you'd find that same bench on a traffic island –– until one day they took it away and put a pelican crossing in its place.
"That for me is the worst journey I ever made, discovering what had happened to that bench."
It was those words that inspired fan Jaime Bird to launch the petition to Hammersmith and Fulham Council to reinstate the bench after the 56 year-old comedian died of "an acute cardiac event" after returning to the family home in Barnes from his regular morning run in June.
Yesterday, Friday November 14, the petition paid off, with the black iron bench, donated by the council unveiled to a crowd which included Rik's children. A tribute written by his friend and colleague Nigel Planer was read out and fans sang the Bottom theme tune, shared memories of Rik and decorated the bench with their own tributes.
After the event, petition organiser and West London-resident Jaime Bird, 32, said: "It’s an overwhelming feeling, really. And we do have to give thanks to the council. Rik is a legend and I wanted to get the bench for him and be able to sit on it as an old lady. It will honour him forever."
H&F Council’s deputy mayor, Cllr Ali Hashem also paid his own tribute, saying: “Rik Mayall was one of the brightest comedians of his generation and we are proud that some of his best work was set in Hammersmith. So when his legion of fans suggested a memorial bench in the Broadway, we were pleased to help.
" It was a fantastic day and the moving tributes demonstrated just how many lives he touched."
A plaque on the bench reads:
The words were provided by Rik's children, Rosie, Sidney and Bonnie while the final line was a phrase Rick would often say to his wife Barbara Robbin.
November 15, 2014