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February 2005
Explorer set to return home...
Sir Walter Raleigh statue
The statue of Sir Walter Raleigh which is now at the Royal Academy in Greenwich
Sir Walter Raleigh is coming home - or at least a statue of East Budleigh's most famous son is.

The bronze figure is set to become a focal point in the East Devon village where he was born more than 450 years ago.
Devon's famous sons: Sir Walter Ralegh

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Hugo Swire MP

East Budleigh

Vivien Mallock

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A statue of one of Devon's most famous sons could be sited in his birthplace.

Four years ago, the village of East Budleigh in East Devon lost its bid to have an existing statue of Sir Walter Ralegh (also spelt Raleigh) relocated there.

The statue was moved from Whitehall Green to the Royal Academy in Greenwich - leaving no local tribute to the seafarer and courtier to Elizabeth I.

Now funding of £30,000 has been secured and a sculptress has been commissioned to create a new bronze statue.

The explorer, who was born in East Budleigh in the 1550s, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I in 1587.

Sir Walter Ralegh is probably best known for bringing back potatoes and tobacco to Britain from an expedition to the New World.

Church at East Budleigh
East Budleigh
Legend also has it that he once laid his cloak over a puddle, so the Queen didn't get her feet wet.

The funding for the statue has been secured by East Devon Tory MP Hugo Swire from British American Tobacco.

Sculptress Vivien Mallock has been commissioned to create the piece. Her largest work to date is the 9ft memorial to the men of the Royal Tank Regiment, which was unveiled by HM The Queen in Whitehall Court in 2000.

She has completed a number of sculptures of naval figures. And she was the last artist to complete a portrait sculpture of the Queen Mother.

Parish councillors in East Budleigh have been shown a clay model, but the finished work will be a full length statue, cast in bronze.

Mr Swire says he is delighted with what has been the culmination of a long story. He said: "I hope the statue will become a tourist attraction and I think it is very exciting that, after all these years, we will finally have a lasting tribute to our most famous local son."

He's hoping people won't object to the cash coming from a tobacco firm: "If there are any objections to this from people who think we shouldn’t do this because its sponsered by British American tobacco, I think I shall emigrate.

"I cannot believe that there can be people around who would be so churlish and politically correct to assume because weve got sponsorship from a major international company we should somehow turn it down.

"I just would despair at that point. We want the statue, they’ve been hugely generous - thank you, thank you, thank you.

Article published: 22nd February 2005.

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