Make Eric Bristow King of the Jungle, say family and friends of Leek darts legend
FRIENDS and family of darts legend Eric Bristow are urging television viewers to crown him King of the Jungle.
The five-times world champion, who lives in Leek, is starring in ITV's Australia-based hit programme I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
And relatives of the former publican have now produced eye-catching T-shirts with Vote Bristow to urge the public to step up to the oche and keep him there.
His daughter Louise Bristow, aged 21, reckons Eric's old and new fans can help him see off bookies' favourites Charlie Brooks and Brian Conley to take the title.
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The full-time mum, from Haregate in Leek, said: "We are all so proud of dad and how he is coming across. He is being himself and not playing up to the cameras or acting any differently than he does at home.
"He always speaks the truth, and won't suffer any fools but I think he's getting on with everyone and they all respect him.
"I was very surprised that he said he likes (Made in Chelsea television character) Hugo Taylor the best as you couldn't get two people from more different backgrounds.
"We are missing him loads, especially his grandson Connor, and we can't wait until he's back home, hopefully as King of the Jungle."
Eric has already had close encounters with the outback's infamous creepy crawlies during his first week in the Bush.
But the Moorlands' adopted son, still known as the Crafty Cockney, did not flinch when he needed to have a tick removed from his neck.
The 55-year-old grandfather also took part in a challenge that saw him catching balls while standing on a giant lily pad.
Eric's 19-year-old son James Bristow flew out to Australia yesterday to offer support from close at hand.
The former Painsley Catholic College student said: "Dad has been brilliant in the jungle so far and we all loved seeing him in the task with Brian on the lily pads.
"He will carry on being honest to himself and telling the truth as he sees it and it's great that everyone is seeing what a top bloke he is.
"I can't wait to see him when he walks across that bridge (to leave the show), hopefully as the winner."
Eric won legions of fans as the best darts player in the world in the 1980s and has made recent appearances for The Swan in the Leek and District League.
Barry Birch, a pub owner from Leek, has known Eric for 31 years and they ran The Swan, in St Edward Street, together.
The 59-year-old said: "I have watched it every night to see how he is getting on and I think he has a good chance of winning it.
"There are a couple of favourites there but I think he is a bit of a dark horse and could end up taking the title."
Barry spent a lot of time travelling with Eric back in his heyday and says he has the mental strength to cope with life Down Under.
He added: "Eric has a fear of nothing and could sleep on a washing line if he had to."
I'm a Celebrity is now in its 12th season and other participants this year include Coronation Street star Helen Flanagan and Conservative MP Nadine Dorries.
Eric's manager and friend Steve Mottershead said: "I think he has been brilliant so far. He is very honest and just being himself in there and I think he will naturally become the father of the group.
"People are starting to lose it because they are becoming tired and bored but Eric hasn't got an agenda and is just enjoying the experience."