17th Oct, 2017

Statue to Led Zep legend John Bonham approved by Redditch planners

Imogen Buller 12th Oct, 2017

TEARS of joy were shed at Redditch Town Hall last night (Wednesday) as plans for a John Bonham statue were given the go-ahead.

Councillors on the borough planning committee unanimously approved the bronze memorial which will depict the legendary Led Zeppelin drummer in his home town of Redditch.

After the meeting, John’s sister Deborah Bonham-Bullick tearfully spoke about the campaign.

“To think he’s going to be up there on the sculpture – my big brother – makes me feel very emotional,” she said.

“I am absolutely thrilled this is happening in the town.

“I am so proud. I know our family would be so proud to see what we’ve done.

“It will be in the image of John, and the spirit of John.”

Councillors were shown a mock-up photograph of the statue in situ, a small model of the sculpture and a piece of bronze to demonstrate colour and texture of the final piece.

Sculptor Mark Richard described his inspiration for the piece, which will stand in Mercian Square in Redditch town centre.

At around 180cm tall at its highest, the statue will show Bonzo sat at his drum kit, and feature his name, date of birth and death, and a quote from the legendary rock band.

Mr Richards said: “The idea is to evoke a sense of crescendo. The shape of the piece rises and falls, as though to embody a Led Zeppelin song.”

The piece will stand in the centre of Redditch’s market square, and will have paved disabled access on one side. Trees already in the area are to be protected.

Councillors congratulated the team behind the campaign, praising their hard work before voting to support the plans.

The famed Led Zeppelin drummer was born in Redditch in 1948, and his birthplace on Birchfield Road was marked with a blue plaque in June.

This was awarded as part of BBC Music Day, with a campaign co-ordinated by Ros Sidaway of local record shop Vintage Trax topping a poll run through BBC Hereford & Worcester.

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” said Ros.

“Church Green is the perfect spot for a memorial. We feel it would help revitalise that part of town and with the way the heritage music tour business has taken off, could drive more tourists to visit Redditch.

“The potential is huge. John Bonham could well be regarded as the most famous person of the modern era from Redditch.”

The memorial is set to be unveiled next year, coinciding with John’s 70th birthday in May and the 50th anniversary of Led Zep’s debut album.

Money for the entire project has been raised through the John Bonham Memorial Fund, including an excess to cover maintenance costs.

His family also plan to donate money to Teenage Cancer Trust, and work to bring cancer nurses directly to Redditch, creating an ongoing legacy in John’s name.

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