Hunstanton tribute to founder unveiled

Gareth Calway performs the ballad he composed for the unveiling of the statue to Henry Le Strange
Gareth Calway performs the ballad he composed for the unveiling of the statue to Henry Le Strange

A new statue commemorating the founder of Hunstanton has been unveiled in the resort.

The bronze likeness of Henry Styleman le Strange stands on the Green, overlooking the sea, and went on public show for the first time in a ceremony last Friday.

Town mayor Adrian Winnington, borough mayor Carol Bower and Michael Meakin from the Le Strange Estate at the new statute of Henry Le Strange

Town mayor Adrian Winnington, borough mayor Carol Bower and Michael Meakin from the Le Strange Estate at the new statute of Henry Le Strange

Town mayor Adrian Winnington said: “Henry Styleman le Strange had the vision to build New Hunstanton in this beautiful place; a town in which people could live and trade, and also for others from elsewhere to visit and enjoy.

“On this special day, it is good that we, who live in this special community founded by Henry le Strange, continue to welcome all those who travel here from the wider community.”

The £40,000 statue was designed and made by artist Alan Herriot.

Including the base plate he stands 7’ 7” tall and is depicted as a Victorian gentleman in a well-tailored suit.

The idea of a statue was originally proposed by Brian Holmes, of the Hunstanton Civic Society, who asked town businessman William Searle to lead the fundraising effort for it.

A total of £12,000 was raised locally towards the scheme, with a further £8,000 being provided by West Norfolk Council.

The remainder was allocated from a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to the ongoing Hunstanton Heritage Gardens renovation scheme.

Michael Meakin, of the Le Strange Estate, said: “It is a great honour for the le Strange family to have the founder of Hunstanton recognised in this way.

“The statue is a permanent reminder of the man whose vision created the town.”

Borough mayor Carol Bower also congratulated Mr Herriot for his work.

She said: “He has produced a work of art that will remind residents and visitors to Hunstanton of the heritage of this seaside town for generations to come.

“Public art is important in any civilized community and more so when it commemorates those that had a part in founding that community.”

To celebrate the unveiling a performance by musicians from Smithdon High School opened the celebrations.

Following the formal ceremony, poet Gareth Calway accompanied by harpist Vanessa Wood-Davis, performed the ballad ‘Le Strange’s Dream’ that Mr Calway wrote for the project.

The event closed with a performance from the Rock Choir led by Mike Tandy.