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Statue of former prime minister William Gladstone unveiled in Seaforth

HUNDREDS of people attended the unveiling of a statue of a Merseyside-born prime minister.

The bust of William Gladstone was unveiled at Our Lady Star Of The Sea church in Seaforth on Saturday after a long campaign by historian Brenda Murray, 89.

Birkenhead MP Frank Field, who unveiled the statue, described the event as “one of the most staggering days” of his political career.

He said: “There was such an excitement and buzz there and it was all because of the huge drive and vision of Brenda Murray. I was amazed by how many people turned up – it was packed. There were huge numbers of supporters.

“I am still absolutely buzzing from the event. It was extraordinary and could not have been a more exciting day.”

Gladstone, the only man to be prime minister four times, lived in Seaforth from 1813 to 1830.

Mrs Murray, who received a British Empire Medal for services to heritage and history in the New Year’s Honours list, told the ECHO she hoped the statue would mark Seaforth out as a tourist attraction.

She said: “I think a lot of people will come from outside the area will come to see this, especially because we have the Gormley sculptures just half a mile away which are extremely popular.

“This is not the end of our campaign. We want everybody to love Seaforth and appreciate the fact it produced such a successful prime minister.”

The 6ft monument was created by sculptor Tom Murphy, with the pedestal and engraving done by John Smith of Crosby Memorials.

Mr Murphy said: “My job is to provide the best portrait I can and what I wanted was for everyone to see his great intelligence.

“What is exciting as a sculptor is that you are the last link to that dead person – the bit before the full stop providing a sort of life after death.”

The bust looks out onto the former site of St Thomas’s Church, built by Gladstone’s father John and demolished in 1980.

At the age of nine Gladstone wrote in his diary that he hoped his father would bequeath the church to him because he loved it so much.

The £25,000 statue was paid for with a combination of Mrs Murray’s fundraising efforts and £10,000 of Heritage Lottery cash.

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