A scale model of a statue depicting three pioneering black footballers has been unveiled.
Last month, plans to erect a 10ft bronze sculpture of West Bromwich Albion legends Laurie Cunningham, Brendon Batson MBE and Cyrille Regis MBE were announced.
The sculpture, called ‘The Celebration’, will be located in West Bromwich town centre. It will celebrate the achievements of the trio who paved the way for black footballers in this country.
Graham was joined by Cyrille Regis and Leader of Sandwell Council, Cllr Darren Cooper, at the unveiling of the maquette a foundry on the Hawthorns Industrial Estate, close to the West Bromwich Albion ground, on Wednesday.
Graham has been using the same foundry for more than 20 years and it is where he created maquettes of some of his most famous pieces of work, including Eric Morecambe, William Webb-Ellis and Don Revie.
Graham said: “Since 1988 I’ve undertaken numerous public sculpture commissions and been fortunate to portray many of my comedy, sporting, and industrial heroes in towns and cities throughout the country. I feel very privileged to be part of this proposed sculpture of Brendan Batson, Laurie Cunningham, and Cyrille Regis, a commemoration of the moving away from the archaic attitudes and racism that was prevalent in the pre 1980’s. It will also be a celebration of the true spirit of our national game.”
‘The Celebration’ initiative is being led by Black Country businessman Jim Cadman with the help of Sandwell Council and will be unveiled.
Cyrille Regis said: “This wonderful maquette by Graham Ibbeson brings the ‘Celebration Statue a step closer to reality and I would like to thank Jim Cadman for having the vision and energy to propose this project. I have been extremely humbled by the support shown for the statue and what it represents.”
Councillor Darren Cooper, Leader of Sandwell Council, added: “Seeing the scale model of the statue has made me even more excited about this project. It will only add to all of the fantastic work taking place to make West Bromwich one of the ‘must-visit’ towns in the region.”