Monument marks John Lennon's birthday

  • Published
Julian and Cynthia Lennon
Image caption,
Julian and Cynthia Lennon joined a chorus of Give Peace A Chance

A monument to John Lennon has been unveiled in Liverpool by his first wife Cynthia and son Julian on what would have been the star's 70th birthday.

The statue is intended to act as a shrine for fans who want to pay tribute to the late Beatle in his home city.

In the shape of a globe with doves flying above, it is also designed to be a monument for peace.

The global birthday celebrations also included a performance by his widow Yoko Ono in Reykjavik, Iceland.

In New York, Lennon's original band The Quarrymen headlined a tribute concert and fans gathered to remember the icon in Central Park.

The area of the park known as Strawberry Fields, near the spot where Lennon was shot in December 1980, has long been a site of pilgrimage for Lennon followers - who converged on the area and sang a rendition of his song Imagine.

The Liverpool monument is designed to provide a similar place of remembrance in the city where he was born on 9 October 1940.

Unveiling the statue, Julian said: "We come here with our hearts to honour dad and pray for peace and say thank you to each and every one of you and everybody involved in the celebrations today."

Image caption,
December will see the 30th anniversary of Lennon's murder

Cynthia, 71, who was married to John Lennon from 1962-68, told the ceremony: "I think the mourning is over for John.

"I think it's time to celebrate, which is what we're doing. Think about [anything in] his life that was positive and just enjoy that. Enjoy the joy that he had and that we all have from his music."

The pair then joined the 2,000-strong crowd in Chavasse Park in joining hands and singing Lennon's anthem Give Peace A Chance.

The onlookers also included original Beatles drummer Pete Best, who said the statue "captures all the aspirations" of Lennon.

Lennon himself would have been "quite bemused" by the ceremony, he said.

"He'd have a little smile on his face, thinking, who'd have thought that I would have started all this off? I'm certain he's up there having a peek."

Bill Harry, who knew The Beatles and edited the Mersey Beat magazine, described it as "a marvellous peace monument" but said it should have incorporated Lennon's image or song titles.

Image caption,
The audience joined in on Give Peace A Chance

"I still think we can have another permanent monument to John in the city," he told BBC News.

"This is an ideal place for it so I can anticipate getting some organisation to place another John Lennon memorial here which is specifically focused on John himself."

The statue has been created by 19-year-old US artist Lauren Voiers and was commissioned by the California-based Global Peace Initiative.

Meanwhile, Yoko Ono and son Sean Ono Lennon performed as the Plastic Ono Band in Reykjavik and were joined on stage by Lennon's former bandmate Ringo Starr.

About a thousand people attended the concert, which rounded off with the crowd singing happy birthday to the late Beatle.

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