Statue honour for Sir John?

NOT many of the great and good can claim to hail from Felixstowe – so the seaside town should honour with pride its famous sons.That's the view of former mayor Malcolm Minns, who is pressing for the resort to put up a statue to probably its best-known born and bred celeb, the veteran actor Sir John Mills.

NOT many of the great and good can claim to hail from Felixstowe - so the seaside town should honour with pride its famous sons.

That's the view of former mayor Malcolm Minns, who is pressing for the resort to put up a statue to probably its best-known born and bred celeb, the veteran actor Sir John Mills.

Sir John - who made more than 100 films and won an Oscar for his role in Ryan's Daughter - has spoken fondly of his early life in the town.

"I would like to see a statue of Sir John as a tribute to a man who is probably our most famous former resident and started his stage career here in Felixstowe," said Mr Minns.

"I have been thinking about it for some time and think it would be an excellent project for the town.

"I tend to think that in Felixstowe we don't honour those local people who have done excellent things and succeeded very well at all - we should celebrate them more and a statue is one way of doing that."

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Ipswich has statues celebrating Sir Alf Ramsey, Sir Bobby Robson and the work of cartoonist Giles.

Mr Minns has been talking to a number of people in the town about the idea and he hopes that interest is growing.

"We will have to see what happens but I do think there will be a need for some serious debate on the subject soon, and then we shall see what kind of interest there is for it," he added.

Son of a school teacher, Hollywood legend Sir John, 96, lived at 9 Gainsborough Road, Felixstowe, just off Hamilton Road and five minutes walk from the sea.

He started his working life at RW Paul, the corn merchants in Ipswich, in the 1920s. He caught the train every morning from Felixstowe to Ipswich, getting off at the Derby Road station and walking into town so that he could save sixpence a day to help finance his dream of getting into acting.

Dolly Gray, 80, of Yetton Ward House, Cricket Hill Road, Felixstowe, whose mother looked after Sir John's family when they later lived in Cobbold Road, said a statue was a "wonderful idea".

She said: "I would support it wholeheartedly. If there is anything I can do to help I will - it's a brilliant suggestion."

Sir John's first steps on the stage were taken in the town as part of the fledgling Vicar's Amateur Dramatic.His first role in Felixstowe was as a gardener in The Paper Chase, staged at St John's Church Hall in Princes Road in 1927.

n Should Felixstowe have a statue to Sir John? Who else should the town honour? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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