"Sod my statue and send all your money to the tsunami victims." It may not be polite but it's what Spike Milligan would have said were he still alive, according to his daughter Sile.

But Michael Palin and the poet Roger McGough, both friends of the late comedian, this week threw their weight behind the Finchley Society's project to create a bronze statue of the comic genius.

The chino-wearing explorer and ex-Python has credited The Goon Show, which starred Milligan alongside Peter Sellers, Michael Bentine and Sir Harry Secombe, as a great inspiration' for Monty Python, whose musical Spamelot is currently wowing audiences on Broadway.

"The list of patrons who support the statue appeal shows how widely Spike was appreciated, how much he was admired, and how enthusiastic people are to turn this admiration into something permanent," said Palin.

"There are old soldiers on plinths all over London. But a soldier who created the Goon Shows, now that is something worth commemorating."

The society, of which Milligan was a founding member, wants to raise £30,000 for Milligan's statue but donations have dwindled after an initial flurry.

Designed by Barnet sculptor John Somerville, the statue would depict Milligan sitting on a park bench outside Avenue House, in East End Road, Finchley, turning as if to speak to an imaginary person.

The statue should be in place by April next year, and will depict Milligan as a comedian, poet, and humanitarian.

The poet Roger McGough, who shared the stage with Milligan at a number of poetry events, was friends with him for more than 20 years and thinks he would, in fact, have liked a statue.

Although Milligan will be remembered predominantly for his contribution to comedy, McGough also insists that his children's poetry will live on.

"He was a hoot" said McGough. "I appeared on This is Your Life for Spike. When I read one of his poems, he insisted he hadn't written it.

"He wrote a lot of poetry the children's poetry will be remembered.

"It is all part of the man. I think he would want the statue. I think he did like to be remembered."

Before moving to Hadley, Milligan lived in Holden Road, Finchley, for 19 years, and was an ardent campaigner for the preservation of Barnet's natural and cultural heritage.

David Smith, who is chairing the campaign, hopes the statue will help remind people of Milligan's most creative years, in Finchley. "We are £5,000 into the black, but it's a long road," he said. "With the tsunami appeal, people have generally already given, and that has affected quite a lot of organisations."

Donations can be sent to The Spike Milligan Statue Fund at 17 Abbots Gardens, East Finchley, London N2 OJG. For more information visit www.spikestatue.org