Nottingham statue plans to Alan Sillitoe scaled back

Alan Sillitoe before his death in 2010 Alan Sillitoe was responsible for over 60 works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry

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Plans for a memorial in Nottingham to late author Alan Sillitoe have been scaled down because of difficulties in raising the money.

A life-size statue of the Saturday Night and Sunday Morning writer was proposed in October 2010 and would have cost about £80,000.

David Sillitoe, the novelist's son, said however, the expense has left the project unfeasible.

Mr Sillitoe said a bust of his father had been planned instead.

'Measure expectations'

The Alan Sillitoe Statue Fund was set up following the death of the writer in April 2010.

'Working class hero'

Alan Sillitoe in his home in London
  • Alan Sillitoe was born in Nottingham in 1928 and wrote largely about his working class background
  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning was his most famous work and set in Nottingham
  • Mr Sillitoe, like Arthur Seaton, the book's protagonist, worked at the Raleigh bicycle factory in the 1950s
  • The book became a film in 1960 with Albert Finney playing the rebellious Seaton

Sillitoe, who also penned The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, was born in the Lenton Abbey area of Nottingham, in 1928.

The memorial was originally planned for his birthplace, but Old Market Square in the city centre later became its preferred location.

David Sillitoe, who is on the committee, said: "We wanted to raise enough money to make a permanent memorial in Nottingham to Alan, [and] the obvious thing was a statue.

"[But] we had to measure our and other people's expectations and it's proven very hard to get that kind of money.

"The more we thought about it the less feasible the statue project was proving to be and that's why we moved sideways to the bust on a plinth."

The group are still short of the money required, and a location for the bust has yet to be decided, he added.

During the last three years an undisclosed amount of money has been collected through special events celebrating Sillitoe's life and work.

Arctic Monkeys

Money through other sources has also been sought, and according to the fund the city council has pledged to support the tribute at the right time.

However, Mr Sillitoe said he was disappointed the Arctic Monkeys, who are fans of his father's work, had not contributed.

Alex Turner, lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys Alex Turner, lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys, is a fan of Alan Sillitoe

The band used a line uttered by anti-hero Arthur Seaton in the 1958 novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, for the title of their debut album - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.

Mr Sillitoe said: "The Arctic Monkeys haven't been any help and of course they took, for the title of that album, one of Alan's immortal lines, so we'd like to hear from them.

"[Alan Sillitoe] was acknowledged as an influence and I'm not necessarily saying there's a quid pro quo (this for that), but we contacted the management and in the great tradition of rock and roll their offer of help was to send us a CD, which never arrived."

The band's management said it was unaware the CD had not arrived and invited Mr Sillitoe to get in touch about his campaign.

Nottingham's last high-profile statue was for the late Brian Clough, which was unveiled in the Old Market Square, in 2008, after £70,000 was raised by volunteers within 18 months.

"They worked really hard to get the money," said Mr Sillitoe. "It was a great piece of fundraising.

"We're doing our best and we're grateful for anything. We're not asking for a lot [but] we need a leg up."

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