You've done it! Kevin Beattie statue appeal hits target thanks to Blues fans
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:30 27 August 2019
The fundraising appeal for a statue of Ipswich Town's greatest ever player, Kevin Beattie, has hit its target in just eight months.
Blues fans have responded magnificently to the campaign, which was launched after the Beat's sudden death at the age of 64.
It means a statue can soon be erected in Portman Road - immortalising the player voted our club's best ever in numerous polls.
The Beat Goes On campaign has been a joint project led by the East Anglian Daily Times, Ipswich Star, BBC Radio Suffolk and independent Ipswich Town website TWTD.
We set an initial target of £110,000. Thousands of fans have dug deep, while MC Contracts and Ridgeons are donating the plinth in kind - meaning we've now reached our goal.
'Fans have driven this project'
Brad Jones, editor of the EADT and Ipswich Star, said: "The fact we've hit the target so quickly shows how much people want to see this happen.
"Thank you to everybody who has made a contribution - every penny has made a difference. Ipswich Town fans have once again proved their class.
"I must also thank the campaign team, who have done a brilliant job.
"We always felt it was appropriate for the fans to be the driving force behind it - and that's been the case.
"We saw that in action only a few weeks ago when a collection outside the ground raised nearly £6,500, which was then matched by Marcus Evans.
"I can't wait to see the statue in place, and every fan who contributed will be able to say they helped to make it happen."
BBC Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy, who has helped lead the campaign and hosted many fundraising events, added: "I, like everyone, was devastated at the sudden death of the Beat. The day before he died I was broadcasting Life's a Pitch on BBC Radio Suffolk with him and he seemed fine. 24 hours later I received the news that he'd passed away, I was rocked to the core.
"A statue of him from the fans for the fans is a fitting tribute to our greatest ever Ipswich town player.
"The fact that the fans have stumped up the cash so quickly is a testament to how much they loved him and I can tell you he loved them with equal measure. I think it's brilliant news."
Statue design will be spectacular
Sean Hedges-Quinn, the Suffolk sculptor behind the acclaimed statues of both Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alf Ramsey, has designed the statue.
It is an impressive leaping design, showing the Beat's power and athleticism. The maquette is set to be revealed within weeks.
The fundraising appeal was pushed past its target by a spate of generous donations - including an extraordinary £6,500 pledge from one fan.
It's also received overseas support. Fortuna Dusseldorf fans have made several big pledges, while ITFC Sweden and its members donated £235.
Chairman Niklas Nygårds said: "Kevin has had a special place in our hearts, especially after meeting him at different events and not least Life's a Pitch before Saturday games at our various members' trips.
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"Such a fantastic footballer and lovely man. May he rest in peace and the statue forever become a symbol of his greatness on the pitch."
The campaign team has been in positive discussions with Ipswich Borough Council over the project, with councillors set to discuss the proposals in the coming weeks. The authority is set to provide the land.
The appeal was launched in December on what would have been the Beat's 65th birthday, with a committee including Kevin's daughter Emma, and Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher.
Many successful events have been organised in the last eight months, including a gala night at Greshams Ipswich.
Golf day to be held in September
Meanwhile, a small contingency fund will be needed for the project, so there is a further event planned next month.
A golf day featuring Town legends will be held at Hintlesham Hall on September 13, with tickets available from the Greshams Ipswich website.
Any surplus funds will be used in connection with the project, potentially on the likes of improved landscaping.
The campaign team
- Emma Harvey, Kevin's daughter
- Terry Butcher, Ipswich Town legend
- Mark Murphy, BBC Radio Suffolk
- Brad Jones, editor EADT and Ipswich Star
- Mark Calver, owner MC Contracts and Greshams Ipswich
- Mick Parker, director Greshams Ipswich and MD Parker Communications
- Mark Ramsay, Ipswich Town Supporters' Club
- Colin Kreidewolf, Ipswich Town Independent Supporters' Trust
- Phil Ham, editor TWTD website
- Steve Flory, Hudson Signs
- Duncan Foster, Ipswich businessman, associate director ITFC, and custodian of The Beat's memorabilia
- Tim Edwards, Partner, Ipswich Town Heritage Society
- Elizabeth Edwards, Director Ipswich Town plc and Partner, Ipswich Town Heritage Society