A LIMITED edition set of Fred Dibnah ceramic figures have sparked a bidding war among collectors.

Fans have been queueing up to get their hands on the first in a series of four ceramic figurines and teapots depicting the legendary Bolton steeplejack.

The limited edition sold out in hours.

The eight-inch earthenware figures have been designed by Lorna Bailey, a ceramic artist from Stoke-on-Trent, with a percentage of the profits going to the Fred Dibnah Memorial Fund Appeal.

Lorna's father, Lionel, a life-long fan of Fred's approached his widow Sheila with the idea for the collection.

The first figurine, entitled, "Did you like that?", shows Fred dressed in his working gear, holding a hooter.

Mr Bailey, who works for his daughter's company, Lorna Bailey Art Ware, said: "It took three weeks to come up with the prototype - going from the original sketches to the finished product. We made 100 limited edition figures, costing £65 each, and they sold out almost immediately. We'll be releasing the second figure in the collection next week showing Fred with a pint pot in one hand and an oil can in the other.

"That will be followed with two teapots - the first showing Fred pushing a chimney over - with the spout as the chimney and the handle as a ladder and the second, with Fred on a steam engine." The company are also manufacturing the figures for general sale, with a slight variation in colour.

Sheila Dibnah said: "Lorna worked off some photos of Fred and I'm really happy with the final result. We are handing £25 from the sale of each figure to the appeal and the first batch has already raised £2,500."

The Fred Dibnah Appeal is being run by the Bolton Civic Trust in conjunction with The Bolton News and aims to raise enough money to build a memorial to Fred in the town. So far the appeal has raised more than £33,000. For more information about the collection visit www.lorna-bailey.co.uk or telephone 01782 837341.