Bonham statue bid kicks off with bang

By Ian Dipple Friday 02 August 2013 Updated: 02/08 10:12

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Buy photos » A campaign has been started to get a statue to John Bonham put up in Redditch town centre. (s)

A FUND has been set-up to install a permanent memorial in the town to one of Britain's greatest musicians and arguably Redditch's most famous resident.

The John Bonham Memorial Fund will aim to collect as much money as possible to have a statue or sculpture erected in honour of the Led Zeppelin drummer who was born, educated and grew up in Redditch.

It is hoped space will be found within the town centre for the statue, with the bandstand area previously mooted.

The fund has been set-up by Sam and Clem Dallaway, who run Rocktave Music Teaching Studios, Ros Sidaway of Vintage Trax and Alistair Hayward-Wright of chartered accountants Hayward Wright Ltd.

The group say not only would a permanent tribute to the town's most famous son be a fitting memorial but it would also provide a boost to the economy and provide a visitor attraction for Led Zeppelin and music fans worldwide.

Sam said: "He was a true Redditch legend, born in the town, brought up in the town and made his music in the town to begin with and that's why we should honour him."

The fund will be officially launched in the Autumn when an online donation page will also go live to allow fans across the globe to contribute.

The project is being supported by Redditch Town Centre Partnership and Redditch Borough Council's arts and leisure service as well as the Bonham family.

John's sister Deborah told the Standard seeing a statue erected in her brother's honour would mean a lot to his surviving family.

"I'm absolutely thrilled about it. John was unassuming so he'd probably be a bit shy about it but I know he'd be very proud," she said.

"I wish it had happened when my dad, mum and other brother Michael were alive, it's a shame they are all gone now.

"To see it up there will be very emotional. It's very, very touching and just wonderful to know he means that much and his music brought that much joy to so many people."

To help kick-start funding for the project, Southbank Publishing has reprinted John Bonham: The powerhouse behind Led Zeppelin which was penned by his late brother Mick. Copies are available from Café Mambo on Church Green East.

The first dedicated fund-raising event is also being held next Friday (August 9) at Redditch United FC's Valley Stadium. Owners Chris and Sallie Swan have donated use of the room for the night which will include music from Kaleidiscope Rock Roadshow/DJ Andy Pyatt, and live music from local classic rock band, After Damage. It starts at 7.30pm and costs £5 per person.

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