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Seaforth son William Gladstone went on to became Britain’s Prime Minister

SEAFORTH village is bidding to install a bust of its most famous son – William Gladstone.

Campaigners hope the bigger than lifesize memorial will help boost the area's profile and finally pay a visible tribute to the man who went on to become four times British prime minister and served as chancellor of the exchequer three times.

A clay replica of the former Liberal politician's head, shoulders and chest have been created by sculptor Tom Murphy and a mould is now waiting to be filled with bronze.

Once complete the tribute will stand on a column bearing an inscription, made by local stonemason Thomas Smith from Crosby Memorials.

The model will take pride of place at Our Lady Star of the Sea church opposite the former site of St Thomas’ church, where Gladstone formed his religious convictions while was growing up.

Seaforth resident Brenda Murray, chairman of the Seaforth Gladstone Memorial Group (SEAGLAM): “Gladstone had a very happy childhood in Seaforth and lived there from the age of four up until he was 21. He drew inspiration from Seaforth and the area was very important to him in his life. He was a religious man all his life and his religious convictions were formed at St Thomas' church in Seaforth. Those same convictions compelled him in his later life.”

Mrs Murray, 86, added: "Sadly, all the evidence of the Gladstone family living in Seaforth in the 19th century has gone. Some people say Gladstone was a Liverpool man but he stayed 17 years at Seaforth House. There is a statue of him in St John’s Gardens and one inside St George’s Hall, but not one where he grew up in Seaforth.

“He was longer in Seaforth than in Liverpool. If we have a memorial to the greatest man from Merseyside then it will raise the profile of the area. Seaforth is a worthwhile place with a pretty village and Bowersdale Park. It has a fine church at Our Lady Star of the Sea.”

Tom Murphy, speaking at his Canning Street studio in Liverpool city centre, said of the model: “I made a cardboard cutout of him for a sense of scale and went from there. He is 10 per cent bigger than he would be normally because when you go outside in the open statues sink in comparison to when they are in rooms. I had to do every nook and cranny in his face after studying all of the photographs of him. He looks as if he is always in a rush and he has a ‘Beethoven-ish’ type of face.”

He added: "Merseyside has more statues of their heroes than anywhere outside of London because we like to celebrate the lives of our famous people here

“When we miss someone we want them back and that’s what we are doing here with Gladstone."

Mr Murphy used the lost wax process to make the mould and now the remaining money is being raised before an Oswestry foundry can pour in the bronze. The bust will be screwed in by Tom Smith in to a five foot six inch stone column made of abbey grey granite from India.

Mrs Murray has collected £3,500 of £18,000 needed – two £1,000 donations came from Gladstone’s grandson, Sir William Gladstone, and the Duke of Westminster.

l SEND cheques to Seaforth Gladstone Memorial, 3 Burbo Crescent, Blundellsands, L23 6TX or email brendamurray300@gmail.com