Model of proposed Mexborough statue for poet Ted Hughes unveiled

Graham Ibbeson with his sculpture of Ted Hughes pictured at his studio in Barnsley.
Graham Ibbeson with his sculpture of Ted Hughes pictured at his studio in Barnsley.

A model of late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes has been unveiled - as part of a campaign to build a permanent memorial in his honour.

Barnsley-based sculptor Graham Ibbeson has created a 16-inch maquette of the celebrated writer who spent part of his childhood living in Mexborough.

Poet Ted Hughes.

Poet Ted Hughes.

The model was revealed last week as part of a campaign by the Ted Hughes Heritage Trust to raise £100, 000 for a lifezise bronze statue of the late writer to be sited in his former hometown.

Graham, 64, said: “The maquette is mainly to instigate debate.

“It is for people to look at and say I would keep this, or I would change this or that.

“But it does give me something to work from.

“You can look at it and say its a miniature version of what the bronze statue would look like.”

The model features part of a pit wheel and a smoking chimney to reflect Ted’s upbringing in the mining heartlands of the Dearne Valley.

The poet lived at 75 Main Street, Mexborough, from 1938 to 1951.

He was Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998 and is regarded by many as one of Britain’s greatest poets.

The Ted Hughes Heritage Trust have already sited a plaque in the town, created a heritage trail and launched a festival in his honour earlier this year.

But they hope to go one further by siting an 8ft high bronze statue and base, potentially somewhere close to Mexborough’s outdoor market for thousands of people to see every day.

The Trust is now looking at organising fundraising events and setting up a website appealing for donations.

Meanwhile Graham, who also created a celebrated statue of late comic Eric Morecambe, hopes to cast his maquette in bronze and sell it at auction to help raise money for the campaign.

He said: “We want to involve the community with the campaign as much as possible.

“This statue will be for the people to enjoy after all.”

Fellow Trust member and ex-Doncaster mayor Peter Davies said he was impressed with the likeness of the model and hoped Ted’s fans from around the globe would help to support the campaign.

He added: “It looks just like Ted, it’s amazing really.

“I think the literary world will rally to the cause and provide the money that’s required to give Ted a proper memorial in South Yorkshire where he spent his formative years.”