Town launches �100k Wolsey appeal

A �100,000 appeal is to be launched today to create a lasting memorial to honour Ipswich's most famous son, Cardinal Wolsey.

Richard Cornwell

A �100,000 appeal is to be launched today to create a lasting memorial to honour Ipswich's most famous son, Cardinal Wolsey.

There is very little in the county town which marks Wolsey's life and civic leaders and historians have decided an artwork tribute should be commissioned for the man who rose to become Henry VIII's Chancellor - effectively the second most powerful man in Tudor England.

The Wolsey Artwork for Ipswich Appeal patrons will launch the project to create a sculpture of Thomas Wolsey in St Peter's Church at lunchtime today.

Peter Osborne, general manager of the Ramada Encore Hotel, will hand over a cheque for �1,000 to kickstart the appeal.

Wolsey was born and brought up in Ipswich before his rise to greatness.

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Wolsey's Gate and St Peter's Church, near the town's Waterfront, currently undergoing major regeneration, are all that is left of Wolsey's dream to build a great college in Ipswich to rival Eton and Winchester, a dream captured by Shakespeare in one of his plays.

A shortlist of five artists have been drawn up who might make the statue, possibly in bronze.

Rebecca Weaver, one of the leaders of the appeal, said: “It's a very exciting project.

“We have asked artists to submit an expression of interest to make a piece of work which will celebrate Wolsey.

“We have several pieces of public art around Ipswich commemorating other important people connected with the town and Wolsey was a national character and it would be great to celebrate him, too.”

It is intended that the sculpture will be placed either in St Peter's Street, where Wolsey lived as a boy, or near to his college gate.

Donations large and small, from corporate organisations, trusts and from the public are welcome - cheques should be made out to Thomas Wolsey Artwork Appeal, c/o Fifth Floor, Grafton House, Russell Road, Ipswich IP1 2DE.

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