A PLAQUE on the town hall wall recognises him as a local man — and there is even a pub named after him.

But town councillors have drawn the line at commissioning a statue of one of their most famous sons — because they say he is not a true “Howfener”.

Robert Shaw, who played Quint in blockbuster film Jaws, was born in King Street, Westhoughton, in 1927.

He was a pupil of White Horse Primary School until his family moved to the Orkney Islands, Scotland, when he was aged seven.

But when Matthew Shaw, who is not a relative, approached Westhoughton Town Council, asking it to consider honouring him with a statue, councillors refused.

The matter was discussed at a recent meeting of town council.

Cllr Brian Clare said: “He is not a Westhoughton man. He was a great entertainer and there are a lot more of the same.

“If you are looking for a statue, then you should put one up of a true Westhoughtoner.”

Cllr Sean Harkin added: “One point he does have is that it might bring tourism to the town. But I am not sure he is right about that.”

Shaw trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) before making his name in Hollywood.

As well as catching the great white shark in Jaws, he also starred with Robert Redford and Paul Newman in The Sting and with Sean Connery in From Russia With Love.

He also wrote a play and novels, one of which was turned into a film — The Man In The Glass Booth.

He died in 1978, aged 51.

Matthew Shaw, aged 33, of Bankside, Westhoughton, said: “Robert Shaw was a great actor. This is his birthplace.

“He is far more famous and well known than lots of other people from the town.

“It could put us on the map. I am disappointed by the councillors’ decision.”

A number of North West towns have recognised their famous sons, including Fred Dibnah in Bolton, a statue of Stan Laurel in Ulverston and Eric Morecambe in Morecambe.

Westhoughton Town Council has spent £30,000 on a statue to remember the 314 miners who were killed in the Pretoria Pit disaster in December, 1910. It is due to be unveiled on the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.

lucy.ewing@ theboltonnews.co.uk