BEXLEY is proud of its royal links and has always embraced its tag as the London borough with the most royal supporters.

With this in mind, plans have now been launched to create a special Diamond Jubilee Sculpture of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

No other council is planning anything as grand and the borough chose the Queen’s recent Diamond Jubilee celebration weekend to launch its ambitious fundraising plan.

The aim is to create a spectacular sculptured bust of Her Majesty and install it in the Bexleyheath Clock Tower as a lasting tribute for everyone to see.

The total cost will be £20,000 and the group responsible for the idea is keen to stress this is a purely local plan with all fundraising undertaken by Bexley people for Bexley people.

Bexley is thought to be the only borough in the country planning to mark the Queen’s coronation in this way.

Ian Payne, Bexleyheath Town Centre Manager said: “The idea is to do something really memorable, as a truly local tribute.

“The Diamond Jubilee celebrations have been fantastic but we wanted to do something to mark the Queen’s actual coronation, which took place on June 2, 1953.

“The recent celebrations pulled the whole nation together, but this will be Bexley’s personal tribute and I really hope local people will join us and get involved, whether it be scout groups, schools, clubs, whatever.”

To tie in with the Diamond Jubilee celebration and the centenary of the Clock Tower, the fundraising campaign for a Diamond Jubilee Sculpture of Her Majesty the Queen was launched on June 4.

The sculpture would sit in the south-facing recess of the Clock Tower.

Andy Parkes, News Shopper editor, said: “This paper is proud to play its part in creating a lasting tribute to a monarch who has done so much for this country.”

News Shopper will keep everyone up-to-date with the campaign’s progress and how you can get involved.

The Clock Tower

THE Bexleyheath Coronation Memorial Clock Tower commemorates the coronation of King George V in 1911.

Standing 46ft tall it cost £454 to build and has a bust of King George V on the east-facing plinth — a tribute from the people of Bexleyheath.

During the 1930s the bust of King George fell apart after cleaning following the Second World War. John Ravera, from Bexleyheath, recast the bust.

In 1996 Mr Ravera was commissioned to sculpt a bust on the west-facing plinth of Bexleyheath designer, artist and socialist William Morris on the centenary of his death.

The north plinth is currently empty and with your help the south plinth will soon feature The Queen.

The Sculpture

THE sculpture will be created by Frances Segelman who was granted three one-hour private sittings with The Queen.

A fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an associate of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, Frances has already sculpted busts of her majesty as well as the Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Bruce Forsyth, Sir David Frost, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Jack Rosenthal, Cherie Blair and John Profumo.

In 1999 her statue of former Leeds United footballer Billy Bremner was unveiled at Elland Road.

Frances said: “The Duke was very talkative and spoke a lot about his own artwork, his watercolours, his carriage racing and also his favourite artists.

“The Queen was also very chatty, almost too chatty.

“It’s wonderful to be with her, but on the other hand you have to produce something.”

Donations can be made at any Nat West Bank by quoting BBP Jubilee Appeal, sort code 51.70.14 account 78333040 or by sending a cheque made payable to BBP Jubilee Appeal to c/o Marks & Spencer, 55 Broadway, Bexleyheath, DA6 7JN.