Kevin Beattie statue close to unveiling - as East of England Co-op makes big donation
- Credit: Archant
The statue of Ipswich Town's greatest ever player, Kevin Beattie, is close to being unveiled - after the East of England Co-op made a major donation to the project.
The campaign for a statue led by the East Anglian Daily Times/Ipswich Star, alongside BBC Radio Suffolk and the TWTD website, was launched after The Beat's sudden death in September 2018 at the age of 64.
The project is now back in full swing after pandemic-enforced delays, and work has started on the site.
Beattie will stand in Portman Road, diagonally opposite Planet Blue, on land kindly provided by Ipswich Borough Council. The council has commissioned the statue, and is providing crucial support to the project, but all the funding is coming from donations.
Today, we can reveal the statue will be unveiled before Christmas, with the exact date to be confirmed soon.
Following the delay and additional engineering on the plinth for Sean Hedges-Quinn's statue design, some extra funding has been needed. Plans to do that have been set out today, which include giving 20 Ipswich Town fans a chance to have their name inscribed on the plinth.
However, the East of England Co-op has also generously donated the stone cladding and stonemasonry work to the project through HL Perfitts, a part of the Co-op's family of businesses.
Statue committee member Mark Calver, of MC Contracts, is building the plinth itself in kind, with materials donated by Ridgeons.
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Brad Jones, editor of the East Anglian Daily Times and who has led the campaign committee, said: "We are so grateful for how people have come together to make this happen.
"The project has taken longer than we anticipated, due to many factors outside our control, but it's so exciting that we are now close to the unveiling.
"While we raised the original sum required some time ago, we've faced additional costs - some of those linked to the delays - which we'll now raise.
"But the East of England Co-op has really bowled us over with this generous donation, which we appreciate hugely. This would have been a significant cost. It's a magnificent gesture, and makes our job much easier."
Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive of the East of England Co-op, said: “We are proud to be donating the engraved, outer stone shell for a carefully crafted plinth in tribute to Kevin Beattie.
"The stone will be crafted from Port Stone by H L Perfitts, our master Stonemasons part of our co-op’s family of businesses. The colour will reflect the other statues that you find in the Portman Road area.
“Widely recognised as Ipswich Town’s best player of all time, Kevin Beattie was a very important figure in our region, and we’re delighted to be contributing to marking his memory at the club where he achieved such phenomenal success.
“We’re very much looking forward to the unveiling of the plinth later this year.”
The statue captures The Beat's power and athleticism, showing him leaping for a header.
Highly-acclaimed sculptor Sean, an Ipswich Town fan, was also responsible for the statues of both Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson.