AFTER years of planning and furious fundraising, the statue of Charles Dickens in Portsmouth is just two weeks away from becoming a reality.
Guildhall Square will play host to a sculpture of the author, who was born in the city.
The Charles Dickens Fellowship helped raise the money for the statue which will be unveiled on Friday, February 7 – 202 years to the day since the famous author was born.
A huge turnout is expected on the day in Guildhall Square, and the statue itself has had interest worldwide.
Professor Tony Pointon, from the Charles Dickens Statue Fund said: ‘It’s wonderful for Portsmouth that it will have this and it’s wonderful for Dickensians all over the world.
‘We are getting all sorts of messages of congratulations from people. We have got worldwide interest.
‘The groundwork is all done. The plinth has got to be put down soon. The statue will be coming down in secret. I made the decision almost 20 years ago that there should be a statue in Portsmouth.’
Money for the statue, which cost around £150,000, was raised by people across the community including Charles Dickens’ great, great grandsons Ian and Gerald Dickens.
And Prof Pointon said he hopes people living in the city will take pride in the new statue.
‘It will be there for centuries for the people of Portsmouth,’ he said.
‘I’m pleased it’s actually happening with everything that was a problem at the beginning.
‘Guildhall Square is going to be packed. People of Portsmouth will be absolutely thrilled.
‘Charles Dickens would be thrilled at the thought that his home town is going to honour him in this way.
‘I hope as many people as possible will be there in their costumes.’
Celebrations took place across the city and beyond back in 2012 to mark the bicentenary of Charles Dickens.
The News launched a campaign called Read All About It in a bid to boost literacy in schools.
To find out more, visit dickensfellowship.org.
n Our literary legend – in Weekend magazine with The News tomorrow.