Launch event announced for 100k Coleridge statue

From left to right- John Pilsworth CMT Chairman Richard Coleridge Gt Gt Gt Gt Grandson of Samuel Tay

From left to right- John Pilsworth CMT Chairman Richard Coleridge Gt Gt Gt Gt Grandson of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Bill Coleridge, Chris Wakefield (CMT Hon. Secretary) and Lady Pam Coleridge Picture Credit: Phyllis Baxter - Credit: Archant

A six-figure project to erect a life-size bronze statue of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Ottery will be launched next month as part of celebrations to mark his 245th birthday.

The Coleridge Memorial Trust will unveil its plans to raise the £100,000 for the sculpture on Friday, October 20, in honour of the town’s ‘most famous son’.

The group says there is no life-size memorial anywhere in the world and hopes to attract interest from across the globe to donate to its cause.

The trust hopes to place the statue in the grounds of the parish church as Coleridge played in the churchyard as a child.

John Pilsworth, chairman of the trust, said: “It is the biggest non-annual event in Ottery for years.

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“We hope to get some large donations to reach £100,000. It is more than just donations from the community, people come from across the world to learn about Coleridge.”

The group is writing to universities and organisations around the world offering a limited edition 10 inch bronze statue in return for a £20,000 donation.

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Mr Pilsworth said: “If we could get two or three donations of £20,000 we would be more than halfway there.”

Lord and Lady Coleridge has commissioned a limited edition Coleridge medal which will be sold for £20. They have designed 250 medals which include details of the Ancient Mariner on one side.

The launch begins at 7pm in the parish church on October 20. The audience will hear from the British Library’s lead curator Dr Sandra Tuppen and Nicholas Dimbleby, the commissioned sculptor for the project.

On October 21, the poet’s birthday, celebrations will begin with a peal of bells at 9.30am.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in 1772 in the School House in Ottery. His father John, was the vicar of the parish and master of the King’s Grammar School.

At lunchtime an anniversary lunch has been organised by the Ottery Heritage Society at the Tumbling Weir and will welcome Todd Gray as guest speaker.

To complete the weekend, Sam Coleridge will lead a nine-mile walk called ‘Coleridge Link’.

The event costs £10 a head and start from the bridge at the mill stream at 10am and go on until 4pm. Walkers are advised to wear sensible clothing and take water and food.

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