Flying Prince comes in to land

A STATUE of Ipswich's 'flying prince' Alexander Obolensky is today being erected in Cromwell Square, Ipswich.

A STATUE of Ipswich's 'flying prince' Alexander Obolensky is today being erected in Cromwell Square, Ipswich.

The large bronze figure of the rugby legend, currently being put in place on the eastern edge of the square, next to the footpath on St Nicholas Street, shows him appropriately holding a rugby ball.

The �50,000 15ft tall statue was the brainchild of James Hehir, chief executive of Ipswich Borough Council, and generous donations were given by business people, including Graeme Kalbraier of Call Connection, together with funds from Rugby Football Union and billionaire owner of Chelsea FC, Roman Abramovich.

The official unveiling will be at 11am on Wednesday, February 18 by the legend's niece, Princess Alexandra Obolensky.

Prince Obolensky, a winger, scored a famous try at Twickenham in 1936 in England's first defeat of the New Zealand All Blacks at the age of just 19.

Originally from Russia and later made a British citizen, the prince scored two tries in the victory which was his international debut.

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He later joined the Royal Air Force and died in his Hurricane fighter in a crash at Martlesham Heath in 1940. He is buried in Ipswich cemetery.

The new addition to the square comes amid proposed changes to the car park access by Ipswich Borough Council. One option to consider is opening the car park to Franciscan Way and closing the existing access from St Nicholas Street, losing up to 15 car parking spaces. The other option is to retain the shape of the car park and add attractive paving.

The exhibition will be held on Friday, February 13, and Saturday, 14, between 10am and 4pm in the board room at the St Nicholas Centre (the south side of Cromwell Square).

Do you think it is a good idea to have this statue in the town? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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