It has long been spoken of but nobody really thought it would ever become a reality – a statue of George Formby in his home town of Wigan. The man behind this finally successful bid is the new President of the George Formby Society, Gerry Mawdsley who has been campaigning for many years to get GF the recognition he has for so long deserved.
A statue already exists in the Isle of Man were George made one of his most famous films, “No Limit” and that statue depicts him in his racing leathers.
With the help of councillors serving the borough of Wigan and the funds of the George Formby Society together with assistance from various other sources £30,000 of the final total of £35,000 has been raised and with money still coming in from various appeals it looks as if next year will be a momentous year both for the George Formby Society and for the town of Wigan who thankfully have not forgotten one of their most famous residents.
The idea really took of when Gerry contacted Modus Properties who were about to build a new shopping centre in Wigan. After much emailing between Gerry and Modus director Tim Heatley the news came that Modus would “do something” to preserve the Formby/Wigan link in the new mall.
The Isle of Man statue was created by Amanda Barton so it seemed logical that she should be asked to create the Wigan model. Amanda and Wigan councillor Gareth Fairhurst came to Blackpool to meet the members of the GFS committee and after lengthy discussions and much studying of photographs of GF the idea took flight.
Originally Wigan’s contribution to the statue was to be £20,000 but unfortunately news was leaked to local Wigan newspapers which had the effect of reducing this figure to £12,000. The GFS agreed to give £10,000 and Modus generously contributed £5,000. This of course meant the £27,000 fell far short of the £35,000 needed to complete the task so an appeal fund has been launched and so far the results have been very encouraging with some very interesting names whishing to see the statue become a reality.
The Statue fund is building very nicely with some generous donations from:-
Heinz (57 varieties)
Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber
William Santus (Uncle Joe's Mint Balls)
Wigan Athletic Football Club
Sir Ian McKellen
Miss D. Hunt
Mr & Mrs Muirhead
Dr. & Mrs Clews
Phil & Rene Nixon
Don and Sylvia Horton
Tom and Janet Hilton
Neville & Sylvia Roe
A contract was raised by a solicitor and the solicitors fee has been paid by Gerry and Vivien Mawdsley as their donation towards the Statue fund.
A raffle for a painting donated by Mr N Smith raised £90 at the December convention.
More funds are needed and we are appealing to members and branches to donate to this once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of our history. This statue will be the final goal in the quest that the George Formby Society has dreamed of, and making our dream a reality.
It is hoped we can hold an auction of donated gifts that we have received from various companies at the Spring Convention to raise funds.
Please note, the statue fund is now closed
STATUE UNVEILING REPORT