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JACK LESLIE CAMPAIGN REVEAL STATUE PROGRESS AND UNVEILING PLANS FOR 2022

After its incredible fundraising effort, designing and planning for the Jack Leslie statue is well underway, and today the Campaign can reveal more about its design and location.

Work on the artwork itself is now progressing apace with renowned sculptor Andy Edwards, crafting the clay maquette (a scale model) to finesse the pose. In the new year, it will be scaled up to one and a quarter life-size to create an impressive, detailed and lifelike statue of the Plymouth Argyle legend.

Andy Edwards carefully crafting the Jack Leslie maquette

Everyone involved is excited and impressed with the work in progress. The statue’s full detail will only be revealed at the unveiling, which will happen in 2022. The Campaign will announce the date in the new year.

Edwards, the artist behind many such projects, including the Clough-Taylor monument at Derby County FC and the Beatles statue in Liverpool, was appointed after an exhaustive selection process earlier this year. He said, “As a football fan, the last few months of research have been hugely rewarding. I’ve enjoyed listening to many enthusiastic and informed Plymouth Argyle fans, had insightful conversations with former players and had the privilege of guidance and encouragement from Jack’s family. I’ve tried to put all of this into a new scale model design from which the statue will begin being enlarged very soon. Without wanting to give too much away, the new design portrays an iconic legend at his peak, when his goalscoring prowess was first being noticed by the press nationally. Fans can look forward to an installation that features many other elements to illustrate the story and recognises the many, many contributions that have made this new unique landmark monument possible.”

Garry McBride of Monumental Icons is leading on project delivery, planning the landscaping that will surround the work and dealing with logistics. With Garry’s expertise, the Campaign has identified a preferred location that Plymouth Argyle also supports. It would provide maximum exposure to the statue for supporters, Park and Ride users and park users. Subject to discussions with the local authority, we hope to confirm the location in January 2022.

Campaign co-founder, Matt Tiller, said, “All involved in the Campaign want the most public-facing location outside Home Park as possible. We hope Argyle fans, away supporters and passers-by alike, will stop and not only admire this celebration of Jack as a player, but also consider the injustice that befell him in 1925.”

Jack Leslie’s family has been involved throughout, particularly his three granddaughters Lyn, Gill and Lesley who said, “We are so proud to see our grandad’s life recognised, celebrated and also used as an educational tool in the fight against racism. We were finally able to meet members of the Campaign and the sculptor, Andy Edwards, in person recently. Now, the whole family is excited to see the statue coming together.”

Members of the Leslie family with Cllr. Winston Vaughan Chair of Newham Council at the unveiling of the Heritage Blue Plaque

Aside from statue planning, it has been a busy year for the Campaign, with several events linked to Black History Month. This culminated in the unveiling of a Heritage Blue Plaque in Newham, East London, where Jack was born, raised and first played football for nearby Barking FC. It was there that he signed his professional contract with Plymouth Argyle. See https://jackleslie.co.uk/news/event-jack-leslie-plaque-unveiling/ for more details.

Campaign Co-founder Greg Foxsmith said, “We have had an incredible year in terms of raising awareness of Jack’s story, which has been featured on everything from “Antiques Road Trip” to “Coronation Street”. The Campaign has already shown Plymouth in a positive way, and the statue, once unveiled next year, will continue to do that as a lasting legacy.

Matt Tiller & Greg Foxsmith – co-founders of The Jack Leslie Campaign

Meanwhile, fundraising continues, and people can contribute via the Crowdfunder site: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/jack-leslie-campaign

The Jack Leslie Campaign is also keen to hear from businesses that would like to get involved. These extra funds will help the statue project and the educational work supporting the monument and telling the Jack Leslie story. Please contact the Campaign for more information: jacklesliecampaign@gmail.com

NOTES:

The Aims of the Campaign:

  1. To raise funds for and build a statue of Jack Leslie at Home Park, Plymouth
  2. To promote and share Jack’s story.
  3. To celebrate diversity and combat racism.

More Information on the campaign and process to date:

Jack Leslie signed for Plymouth Argyle from Barking in 1921 and scored 137 goals in his 13 years with The Pilgrims. The pinnacle of his career should have been in 1925 when Jack was selected to represent England in a game versus Ireland, but his name was removed from the team sheet when officials discovered that he was black. (See Jack’s story)

The Jack Leslie Campaign was set up in in 2019 by a couple of Argyle fans (Matt and Greg) who had learned of the story, and they were soon joined by a diverse team of volunteers .

In July last year the Campaign launched a crowd-funded appeal, and smashed it’s £100,000 target in six weeks. One year later Andy Edwards was commissioned to create the Jack Leslie Statue in conjunction with Monumental Icons.

LINKS:

The Jack Leslie Campaign: https://jackleslie.co.uk/

Crowdfunder page: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/jack-leslie-campaign

Andy Edwards: https://www.cornoviiedwards.com/

Monumental Icons: https://monumentalicons.com/