Power of Nat Lofthouse: Statue latest

THE artist commissioned to sculpt the bronze statue of Nat Lofthouse has told how he wants to capture the “power” of the legendary footballer.

Sean Hedges-Quinn will be in Bolton tonight to unveil the first of two bronze friezes of Whites’ legend Nat Lofthouse.

It will be placed next to the main statue in a special memorial garden at the Reebok Stadium .

The sculptor has completed the first frieze of Nat holding aloft the FA Cup with the winning 1958 team around him.

It is based on the famous image with Nat and nine players, but Mr Hedges-Quinn has added the two missing players.

He said: “I am looking forward to it. It is the first stage, the start of the process and shows the public what we can do and the first step in the process to the unveiling of the nine foot bronze statue. It is getting the momentum going.”

Mr Hedges-Quinn has previously been commissioned to do statues of famous footballers Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alf Ramsey.

He added: “This is the first time I have done panels to be placed alongside the statue, that makes this project very special. It has taken me two months to do because it included all the team and Nat. It was a copy of the photograph but with the extra two players because they were part of the team.”

Mr Hedges-Quinn, aged 44, will first create an 18 inch model of the footballer to be approved by Nat’s family and also the football club before the task of immortalising the footballer in the larger than life piece.

He has researched Nat’s character through his autobiography and by talking to people who knew him as well as watching his famous matches including the 1958 cup final.

Mr Hedges-Quinn, a huge football fan whose nickname is “coach” said: “I want the statue not just to show what Nat looked like, but to reflect his character.

“When he played for England and Bolton he gave 110 per cent. He remains the third higher goal scorer of all time — he was powerful and solid.

“I want to project that power he had in the statue.”

The frieze will be unveiled at a special event in the Lion of Vienna Suite at the Reebok tonight at 7.30pm.

The statue will be unveiled at the Reebok Stadium on what would have been the footballer’s 88th birthday, August 27, 2013. It is based on the image of him walking out of the tunnel at Burnden Park holding the ball and ties in with his last words before he died.

Bolton people have raised more than £35,000 to help pay for the statue with his family also making a significant donation. Entrance to tonight’s event is free but people will be encourage to donate to the Nat Lofthouse Memorial Fund.

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