Skateboarders damage statue of Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie

Beattie statue

Skateboarders have damaged the statue to Kevin Beattie. - Credit: Paul Geater

Skateboarders have damaged the statue of Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie just months after it was unveiled in Portman Road.

Now officials from the borough are looking at ways to prevent a repeat of the damage - and have pledged to restore it as soon as possible.

The damage is thought to have happened at lunchtime on Easter Sunday and to have been caused by two skateboarders who filmed themselves using the plinth of the statue for jumps. There is an actual skate park close by in Grafton Way.

The front of the plinth has been smeared with a grey marks and one of its edges has been badly chipped.

Damaged plinth

One of the edges to the plinth has been badly damaged by skateboarders. - Credit: Paul Geater

The statue was unveiled just before Christmas after a major community fundraising effort to honour the player who was generally thought to be the best to ever play for Ipswich town.

It was made by Ipswich-born Sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn, who also made the statues of Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson.

Brad Jones, editor of the EADT and Ipswich Star, who led the statue appeal, said: "Everybody in the community who contributed and played a part in making this happen will feel really upset and angry about this. I certainly do.

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"It shows a complete lack of respect, and is so frustrating after all the hard work that went into the project."

BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy, a friend of The Beat's and who also helped spearhead the statue appeal, said he was "furious" at the damage.

Statue marks

The front of the plinth has been badly marked. - Credit: Paul Geater

Ipswich Council leader David Ellesmere said work would soon start on repairing the damage - but the council would also look at ways of preventing a repeat of the incident.

He said: "It has only just happened, but we need to look at something like a low-level barrier to prevent this kind of thing ever happening again. 

"That statue means so much to so many people, we have to make sure it is kept safe."

Plans for the statue started to be drawn up soon after The Beat's sudden death in 2018 and received huge community support.

Members of the Kevin Beattie statue campaign team

Members of the Kevin Beattie statue campaign team at its unveiling in December. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

However, Covid and the successive lockdowns delayed its construction and it was eventually unveiled just before Christmas at a special ceremony attended by many of The Beat's team-mates.