Statue to commemorate Portsmouth’s Charles Dickens delayed

POSITIVE Professor Tony Pointon chairman of Charles Dickens Statue Fund. ''Picture: Allan Hutching (120342-961)
POSITIVE Professor Tony Pointon chairman of Charles Dickens Statue Fund. ''Picture: Allan Hutching (120342-961)
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IT was due to be unveiled during Charles Dickens’ bicentenary.

But a lack of funds means there is a delay in erecting the UK’s first ever statue of the Portsmouth-born novelist at Guildhall Square.

The proposed Charles Dickens statue

The proposed Charles Dickens statue

A total of £50,000 is still needed to cover the cost of making the £120,000 bronze monument, which has been designed by artist Martin Jennings.

And it means the statue of Dickens – which was due to be unveiled in December – won’t be unveiled until Dickens’ birthday in February at the earliest.

Professor Tony Pointon, of the Charles Dickens Statue Fund, said: ‘The effort needed to raise funds has increased.

‘We have lost some of the sponsors that we had hoped for because of the downturn in the economy.

‘That has unfortunately affected a lot of people and knocked their confidence.’

A total of £70,000 has already been raised and has paid for the commissioning of Mr Jennings. The extra money would cover the cost of creating and installing the bronze statue.

Prof Pointon added: ‘The project has grown considerably since we’ve started.

‘Trying to make something representative of this great man has meant it has got slightly bigger which means it is going to take longer to go through the casting process. We have made him look very theatrical as well as very 
literary.

‘People will be absolutely stunned when it is unveiled on what we hope will be his birthday next year.’

There are two other statues of Dickens in the world, one in Sydney, Australia, and another in Philadelphia in the US.

Brothers Ian and Gerald Dickens, great-great-grandsons of the Portsmouth-born writer, are bidding to raise a further £50,000 towards the statue when they walk from London to Portsmouth tomorrow wearing top hats, as inspired by the tale of Nicholas Nickleby.

Ian, 56, of Old Portsmouth, said: ‘We don’t want to see the sculpture sat around in a store room gathering dust whilst £100 comes in here and there.

‘So we decided to do something which would really help us get to our target.’