Thursday 11 March 2010 

Northern Rail Sponsor Fred Trueman Statue Unveiling

A little piece of cricketing history is up for grabs at a gala dinner celebrating the life of iconic Yorkshire and England fast bowler Fred Trueman – ahead of the unveiling of a statue dedicated to his memory later this month.

Fiery Fred, a passionate Yorkshireman - and the first bowler to take 300 Test Wickets – has been immortalised in bronze by renowned artist Graham Ibbeson and his statue is now set to be unveiled in Skipton on March 18. The work has been funded through the Fred Trueman Appeal – set up by Northern Rail in 2007.

Veronica Trueman, Fred’s wife of 36 years, said: “I’m delighted this wonderful statue will become a focal point in Skipton and provide a lasting legacy to my husband.

“Fred would have been delighted to see the statue appear in such a beautiful spot and I am sure it will be a great attraction for years to come.”

Ahead of the public unveiling in Skipton Canal Basin, which will see local brewer Copper Dragon setting up shop to sell specially brewed Fiery Fred Ale, cricket fans will get the chance to meet Fred’s old team-mates and colleagues at a gala dinner in Leeds celebrating his life and times.

They will also get the chance to bid for unique auction items including a cricket bat owned by Fred which was signed by the entire England and New Zealand sides following his final test match at Lords in June 1965.

The bat, which has in the keeping of his wife Veronica until now includes the signatures of such icons as Geoff Boycott, Ted Dexter, M.J.K. Smith, John Snow, Ken Barrington and Fred’s final test victim, R.O.Collinge of New Zealand.

In addition to the 24 signatures from his final test match, Fred also collected on the same bat the signatures of 13 team mates from the 1965 Yorkshire side including Brian Close, Doug Padgett, Don Wilson, Richard Hutton and Ray Illingworth plus the 1965 county line ups of Gloucestershire, Sussex and Worcester which include David Shepherd, Tom Graveney and Basil D’Olivera.

Steve Butcher, deputy Managing Director of Northern Rail, said: “The gala dinner promises to be a fantastic celebration of Fred’s achievements and then the unveiling of his statue in Skipton on 18 March will be a fitting tribute to a great Northerner.”

The Gala Dinner, which takes place at The Queens Hotel in Leeds on the evening of 17 March, will also be attended by special guests including Veronica Trueman and Dickie Bird MBE and cricketers including Brian Close, Geoff Boycott, Ray Illingworth, Phil Sharp, Bob Platt, Mike Cowen, John Hampshire, Richard Hutton and Chris Old.

The following day (18 March) the Fred Trueman statue will be unveiled by Veronica Trueman, Graham Ibbeson and Steve Butcher in Skipton Canal Basin. The ceremony is expected to start at 1100 and the unveiling at 11:15.

Councillor David Crawford, Chairman of Craven District Council said: “Fred was one of the nation’s cricket ‘greats’ and holds a special place in the hearts of many Craven residents. Craven District Council is delighted to be able to provide such a fitting setting for the statue especially as it will be a significant tourist attraction for the area.

“We’re delighted that Freddie’s statue will be in such a prominent location alongside one of Skipton’s best known features - the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. The unveiling will be a very special day for the Town and we know that Fred will become one of our most photographed landmarks in the years to come.”