Benjamin Britten to be honoured with statue in Lowestoft

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Image source, Zeb Soanes/Britten as a Boy
Image caption,
The bronze statue will be a life-sized figure of Britten as a boy sitting on top of a wooden groyne

A fundraising campaign for a statue to commemorate composer Benjamin Britten in the town of his birth has started.

Almost £100,000 is needed to be raised for the sculpture of the composer as a boy, that will look out to sea at Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Broadcaster Zeb Soanes, who came up with idea during lockdown, said it would "inspire the town's children".

Image source, Mick Howes
Image caption,
Almost £100,000 is needed to be raised for the sculpture of the composer, said the group behind the project

Britten, who died in 1976, was born at what is now a guesthouse at 21 Kirkley Cliff Road on 22 November 1913 and the statue will be placed near that address.

Mr Soanes said the Britten as a Boy project wanted the statue to not only commemorate the "town's greatest son" but also to "inspire the town's children to achieve their ambitions".

He said they decided the statue should represent him as a 14-year-old boy as that was when his mother took him to the Norwich and Norfolk Festival and introduced him to the composer Frank Bridge who "spotted Britten's talent and encouraged him".

"We thought that was the perfect moment to capture Britten, just when his life was about to change," said Mr Soanes.

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A maquette of the statue was unveiled on Saturday and will be on display at the First Light Festival in Lowestoft in June.

Mr Soanes said the actual statue would be 9ft (2.7m) and would be a life-sized figure of Britten as a boy, sitting on top of a wooden groyne.

He said the fundraising team had given themselves a year to raise the £99,000 needed.

Image caption,
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh formally opened the Snape Maltings concert hall in 1967, with Britten (far right) showing them around

Benjamin Britten

  • Benjamin Britten was born in Lowestoft, Suffolk in 1913
  • He went to Gresham's School in Holt, Norfolk, before entering the Royal College of Music in 1930
  • Began writing documentary music for the GPO film unit in 1935
  • He met tenor Peter Pears in 1937, beginning a lifelong creative and personal partnership
  • Britten founded the annual Aldeburgh Festival at the church in Snape in 1948
  • In 1965 he came up with the idea of using one of the old maltings buildings in Snape as a concert hall
  • His celebrated works include Peter Grimes, War Requiem and The Turn of The Screw
  • Maggi Hambling's Scallop sculpture on Aldeburgh beach commemorates Britten
Image source, Ian Rank-Broadley/Britten as a Boy
Image caption,
The maquette, or small-scale model of the proposed statue, features writing on the groyne post

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