Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Charles Dickens statue delayed over funding issue

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

The UK's first statue of Charles Dickens due to be unveiled this summer in Portsmouth is not going to be ready until next year.

It was hoped the writer's statue would be in place this month to mark 200 years since the novelist's birth.

A fund-raising shortfall of half the money needed for the £120,000 monument has put its fabrication on hold.

It is expected the sculpture will now be unveiled on Dickens' birthday in February 2013.

The project is being run by the Dickens Felllowship which has the backing of the late writer's family.

Professor Tony Pointon, from the organisation, said: "It's more important to get it right. We cannot afford to have anything that is less than absolutely splendid."

Will request

The statue, which shows Dickens reading in a chair, 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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