Sculptor Dominic Grant with the miniature of Dave Lee and the bench
Almost £8,000 has so far been donated towards the life-size bronze figure, which will be sitting on a bench outside the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury where he appeared in 16 pantomimes.
The 64-year-old, who also founded a charity providing disadvantaged children with holidays, died last year from pancreatic cancer.
Now donations are being made through a new website set up especially for the appeal at www.daveleesbenchfund.co.uk.
It is also hoped Dave’s showbusiness friends will come together for a charity show to support the fund.
The theme of the sculpture pays homage to Dave’s bench gag during his many seasons in panto.
The donations range from £3 to £4,000, but Dave’s son Darren, who runs the Red Lion pub at Stodmarsh with his brother Justin, says every penny counts.
Dave Lee as Dame Trott in Jack and the Beanstalk at Canterbury's Marlowe Theatre
He said: “The family have kick-started the appeal but we are very grateful for all contributions, no matter how small.
“We have discussed the project with the Marlowe and there is an ideal location for the statue at the side of the building by the river.”
Sculptor Dominic Grant, who is married to Bruce Forsyth’s daughter Julie and was a friend of Dave’s, has already produced a clay model of the design. Darren admits the project is expensive, but says the artist is doing it at near cost price.
He said: “We had hoped it might be in place in time for the panto season, but that may not be possible now.
“But friends of dad, like Bradley Walsh, Richard Digance and Joe Pasquale, have offered to put on a special show for the bench fund at the Marlowe.
“The problem is that it may be difficult to squeeze it into the theatre’s programme this year and it might have to wait until early next year.”
For information or to help visit www.daveleesbenchfund.co.uk