Statue success / Auction raises funds for Philip Larkin statue

Celebrated sculptor Martin Jennings’ Philip Larkin Statue to be unveiled in Hull’s Paragon Station on 2nd December 2010.

Thanks to a Charity Auction Dinner, starring Maureen Lipman, The Philip Larkin Society has now raised sufficient money to pay for the Larkin Statue on Hull Paragon Interchange. The unveiling by the Lord Mayor of Hull will take place on 2nd December 2010, the exact 25th anniversary of the poet’s death. Until last night’s fund-raising event, there was still a shortfall of £7,000 to cover the costs. The auction dinner raised over £9,000.

Carole Collinson, chair of the Statue Commissioning Group, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have reached our target for the erection of the statue and are deeply grateful to all the individuals, businesses, organisations and trusts that have been so generous with their time and money. To have hugely talented Hull celebrities such as Sir Tom Courtenay and Maureen Lipman give their services free to help us raise funds has been a great privilege and shows how important the connection is between Larkin and their city.”

Martin Jennings is the sculptor responsible for producing the statue; as a guest of honour at the dinner he said: “It has been a pleasure working with colleagues in Hull and I’m of course very pleased that the target has been reached so far in advance of the unveiling. It says a great deal about Larkin’s appeal and the generosity of people in this part of the world.”

The sculpture itself is now at the foundry being cast and is well on track to be installed on the station concourse in time for the unveiling. A 15-inch bronze maquette was on display at the dinner, one of a limited edition of 20 which are now on general sale at a cost of £3,000 (plus VAT). In her after-dinner speech, Maureen Lipman described the design of the statue as ‘lovely, so characterful’.

The auction included lots donated by Ceruttis, the Portland Hotel, the Deep, the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, the University of Hull, Hull Trains and First Transpennine.  The most unusual item was a trio of Philip Larkin’s own ties, framed with accompanying autographs by Maureen Lipman, Sir Tom Courtenay and Sir Andrew Motion.  Eddie Dawes, chair of the Larkin Society, said: ‘The society acquired over 150 of Larkin’s ties when his effects were cleared from his Newland Park home.  Offering just three of them for auction seemed to us a unique way of further supporting the statue appeal’.

Graham Chesters, Chair of the Larkin25 commemorations, said: “This is great news.  The unveiling will be a fitting ceremonial climax to the six-month Larkin25 programme. The Larkin Society has done a brilliant job in fund-raising.”

For more details, download the press release below or visit