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Monday, March 27, 2017
Statue of Cardinal Hume to be unveiled in Newcastle
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¬†A bronze statue of Cardinal Basil Hume is due to be unveiled in his home city of Newcastle in late spring. Just £20,000 is still needed to reach the £55,000 target for the critically-acclaimed eight foot sculpture. Plans to commission the statue, funded by public subscription, were announced by Newcastle City council leader, councillor Tony Flynn, at a memorial service for the Cardinal, held at St Mary's Cathedral late in 1999. The fund received a great kick-off when a collection at a Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur match raised nearly £4,000 - an acknowledgement of the fact that the late Cardinal was a Magpies' fan. The team is one of the main donors of the project. The sculpture, by Nigel Boonham, features Cardinal Hume standing dressed in his Benedictine habit with a Cardinal's cap on the back of his head. It will be sited in the Cathedral park, which will be turned into a memorial garden. The central feature of the garden will be in the shape of Holy Island, one of the Cardinal's favourite places. It will contain an inscribed stone boulder from the Farne Islands. The garden will be an important addition to the work of the Grainger Town Project in the area. Six pupils from Hawthorn Primary School, Elswick, went to London last December to put their thumbprints into the base of the clay model. They also visited Mr Boonham in his studio. Cardinal Hume's niece Catherine Hickman is very impressed with the latest model. She said: "The one-and-a-half times life version is an improvement, which has captured the human qualities of my uncle, particularly the details of his mouth. "The family are very much looking forward to coming up to Newcastle for the unveiling ceremony. We love an excuse to come back to the North-East, particularly as one of my sons attended Newcastle University." Sister of the late Cardinal Christine Westmacott, who is a member of the selection panel which chose the winning design, said: "The statue is an excellent likeness and is being positioned very favourably, standing behind the cathedral overlooking The Central Station. "The attitude of the sculpture is one of welcome for Tynesiders, visitors and football supporters alike. My brother had a great gift for communication, much appreciated by television and radio broadcasters. "Many people of all persuasions and none told me how much they had greatly enjoyed and benefited from his media interviews. This is a source of pride and gratitude - not just for the family - but for Tyneside generally." Endorsing this view, Councillor Tony Flynn said: "Cardinal Hume was a great ambassador for the city and I am positive this sculpture and memorial garden will be a permanent reminder of one of Newcastle's greatest sons." Details of the sculpture and memorial garden are available on the city's council's website: Donations to the memorial fund, which is a registered charity, can be made in two ways: Cheques payable to The Basil Hume Newcastle Memorial Trust can be sent to: The Lord Mayor's Principal Secretary, Lord Mayor's Chambers, Civic Centre, Newcastle NE1 8QA.; or donations can be made by credit/debit cards by ringing 0191 2115477. Nigel Boonham is a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, and his previous commissions include life-size bronzes of the late Princess of Wales, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie.
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