Fans urged to get behind Beattie statue campaign with collection before Sunderland game
The campaign to raise money for a statue of Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie is hoping to close in on its target with a collection outside Portman Road on Saturday.
Ipswich Town Supporters' Club chairman Mark Ramsay has arranged the collection ahead of the first home game of the season against Sunderland.
A team of collectors will be out on the streets around the ground in the hours before the game, and it's a great chance for fans to help push the statue appeal close to its final target.
Mark, who is also on the statue campaign committee, said: "We need around £23,000 to reach the target. If all supporters gave £1 on Saturday, we would be very close to our target - any donations and further donations would be very gratefully received.
"Kevin Beattie was the finest player to come out of our academy and remained an Ipswich Town supporter for the rest of his life. He became an adopted son of Suffolk, and it is a fitting tribute that we the fans are raising the money to fund his statue."
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Since launching in December, nearly £59,000 has been pledged in cash, while MC Contracts and Ridgeons are donating the plinth in kind.
It means around £23,000 is still needed to hit the target.
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The Beat Goes On campaign - a joint project between the East Anglian Daily Times, Ipswich Star, BBC Suffolk and independent Ipswich Town website TWTD - is raising money for the erection of a statue of The Beat outside Portman Road.
Sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn, who also completed the statues of both Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alf Ramsey, has now started work on the statue - an impressive leaping design which shows Beat's power and agility.
The appeal was launched in December on what would have been the Beat's 65th birthday, with a committee including Kevin's daughter Emma, Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher and BBC Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy, spearheading the fundraising.
Lots of successful events have been organised in the last six months, including a gala night at Greshams Ipswich which saw ex-Town stars Terry Butcher, Mick Mills, Frans Thijssen, George Burley, Russell Osman, Simon Milton, Brian Talbot, Roger Osborne, Mick Lambert and John Peddelty share their memories of Beattie.
To donate to the Beat Goes On statue appeal visit www.gofundme.com and search for Kevin Beattie. Alternatively, you can send cheques made payable to The Beat Goes On to Kevin Beattie Statue Appeal, EADT, Portman House, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, IP1 1RS.