THE race is on to raise enough money to fund a statue of Portsmouth’s most famous son Charles Dickens at the heart of the city.
In the week that the city is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the author’s birth, an appeal is going out to residents to dig deep and help make the £150,000 bronze memorial a reality.
On Tuesday, a model of what the 6ft tall statue of Dickens sitting next to a stack of books would look like was unveiled by sculptor Martin Jennnings at the New Theatre Royal.
But the deadline to make it happen is looming – cash needs to be in place by the end of April. This will give enough time for the statue to be put up in Guildhall Square by September 24 – the day that Dickens returned to Portsmouth with his 13-year-old son Sydney, newly qualified as a sea cadet, to see him onto HMS Britannia.
Prof Tony Pointon, treasurer of the Charles Dickens Statue Fund, said: ‘It’s crunch time but I’m confident we will get there.
‘We need to raise £150,000 and we need contributions from the people of Portsmouth.
‘Of course we will need to go for a big sponsor, but every penny counts and we want the people of Portsmouth to have ownership of it.’
He added: ‘This is going to be one of the most important statues in the country and it will have a real “wow” factor about it.
‘Before we announced this statue most people didn’t know Dickens was born in Portsmouth. The statue has put us on the map. But we can’t do anything without the money.’
To make a donation visit dickensportsmouth.co.uk.