Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth Charles Dickens statue to be unveiled in June

The winning Dickens statue design
Image caption The full-size statue will stand in the Portsmouth's Guildhall Square

The UK's first statue of Charles Dickens will be unveiled in Portsmouth in June 2013, the team behind the project has announced.

The £118,000 monument commissioned by the Dickens Fellowship was put on hold after insufficient funding was raised.

An anonymous benefactor has now underwritten the last £25,000 needed.

It had been hoped the statue would be in place earlier this year to mark 200 years since the writer's birth in Portsmouth.

The Dickens Fellowship, which is backed by members of the late writer's family, said it would "celebrate his ferociously creative, colourful and monumental life."

The statue is set to be unveiled in Portsmouth's Guildhall Square on 9 June 2013, the 133rd anniversary of the author's death.

It shows Dickens reading in a chair and is being made by Oxford sculptor Martin Jennings.

In his will the Victorian author requested that no statues or monuments of him should be built.

The author has two known statues in his honour, in Philadelphia in the US and Sydney, Australia. There are not believed to be any in the UK.

The Oliver Twist creator was born in Portsmouth on 7 February 1812 and spent the first three years of his life in the city before moving to London and then Kent.

Number 1 Mile End Terrace, where he was born, has been a dedicated Dickens museum since 1904.

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