More support has been expressed for a campaign calling for a statue of famed author DH Lawrence to be built in Eastwood.
Reported in your Advertiser last week, Chris Barlow, organiser of the DH Lawrence Festival, set out plans to develop the statue in the town, which he said was “long overdue” and “necessary” to celebrate the author’s heritage.
Support was given to the project by Eastwood Town Council, with chairman Councillor David Bagshaw saying it would “boost the local economy”.
And now Mr Barlow’s words have been echoed by literature leaders, politicians and heritage groups across the county who see the statue as a “fantastic” way to put the “spotlight” on Lawrence.
Matt Turpin, head of communications at the Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature which coordinates literature events in the county, welcomed the campaign.
He said: “Anything that celebrates DH Lawrence is a fantastic idea. He’s underrated and doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves, so anything that puts him in the spotlight we will support.
“We are currently doing some work with Eastwood school children where create Lawrence-themed comic books, which is another great way to celebrate him.
“In Notts we tend to be a bit reluctant to celebrate our heroes when in fact we have got so much to celebrate.
“We would obviously need to look at the details, but if it works we would absolutely put our name to it.”
‘SOMEONE NEEDED TO START UP THE CAMPAIGN’
Mr Barlow has set up an online fundraiser to help fund the statue, with an initial cost of about £70,000 outlined for the scheme.
He said he is hoping to “work closely” with local councils, community groups and heritage schemes to make his vision possible, and also wants to memorialise Lawrence with a chalk outline of his face on a nearby hilltop.
Mr Barlow said: “People are starting to see the benefit of having him now, understanding and relating to him and appreciate what having a world-famous name brings to the town.
“We have the birthplace museum and the festival, the society and a good interest in him now. It’s all there, getting the statue just needed someone to start it up.”
Lawrence is actively celebrated throughout Eastwood, with the town’s DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum regularly hosting exhibits, talks and information events about the ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ author, as well as Mr Barlow’s festival and the old DH Lawrence Society.
Dave Brock, former editor of the DH Lawrence newsletter for the society, has welcomed the statue campaign.
He said: “This is a marvellous idea, we’ve already had attempts to do this in the past which fell flat but I think this is the right time to do it.
“It would be a magnificent attraction and a good focal point, especially in the run up to the centenary of Lawrence’s best work in the 1920s - so what better a time than now to honour him.
“I would like to help in the campaign and support with the designs of the statue, and would be willing to work closely with campaigners to make this happen.”
‘IT’S HIGH TIME LAWRENCE IS MEMORIALISED’
Your Advertiser is also backing the statue campaign.
Jon Ball, head of content, said: “Lawrence is an internationally recognised author known for some of the best literature produced by a British writer, and he’s a significant figure to be proud of.
“Sir Brian Clough is memorialised in Nottingham, Eric Morecambe is honoured in Morecambe, so why shouldn’t Lawrence be recognised?
“Statues are a great way of bringing people into town, a focal point where people can take photographs, share images and start conversations.
“Eastwood is crying out for a statue to go with the popular DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum, the annual festival and the activities in his honour.”
Gloria De Piero, Eastwood MP, has backed the campaign.
She said: “I support the idea that Eastwood needs a statue of its most famous son.
“Having a focus point such as a statue in the centre of Eastwood, would be great for boosting tourism and interest in Lawrence, just like the Robin Hood statue does in Nottingham.
“I would love to hear more about this and see how I can help make it happen.”
n Visit gofundme.com/f/statue-of-dh-lawrence-to-be-built-in-eastwood to donate.