Famous surgeon Archibaled McIndoe to be honoured with statue
SIR Archibald McIndoe is to be immortalised in a bronze statue in East Grinstead.
An international fundraising appeal is soon to be launched to create a lasting memorial to the town's pioneering surgeon renowned for his work rehabilitating badly burnt aircrew.
A committee has been set up to lead the project and raise the £100,000 needed, including Jacquie Pinney, chief executive of the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation, and Stuart Scholes, chief executive of East Grinstead Business Association.
Ms Pinney said: "We are striving not only to recognise Sir Archibald McIndoe's outstanding achievements but also to install a work of art which will raise the profile of East Grinstead and which will make all local people proud.
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"He lived and worked in the town from 1939 until his death at the age of 59 in 1960. His exceptional work in the treatment of badly burnt Allied aircrew – famously called his Guinea Pigs – led to worldwide acclaim."
Martin Jennings, known for his sculpture of poet John Betjeman in St Pancras station, has agreed to take on the task of creating the statue of Sir Archibald.
He felt a connection to the famous surgeon as his father was treated for burns at the Queen Victoria Hospital, in Holtye Road, 60 years ago.
Mr Jennings said he visited the town at the beginning of the year to consider potential sites for the statue.
He told the Courier & Observer: "Sackville College seemed to be the best choice.
"There is a good link, logistically, between the town and the hospital and due to it being on a slight slope, you can also look up at him."
The chosen spot, off the High Street, is also the route Sir Archibald would have taken between his home in Lewes Road and, later on, his other home in Wall Hill, Forest Row, and the hospital.
Sackville College trustees have said they are happy with the proposal of placing the statue on the grass in front of the 15th century building.
Mr Jennings added: "I am really looking forward to taking on the challenge of creating a memorial for such a great man."
Mr Jennings plans to create a figurative bronze monument, which will be on a stone plinth.
Once built, the statue would be gifted to the town council, which would then maintain it.
Councillor John O'Brien said: "I am excited to see this new statue come to the town. It might draw more attention to the town and its history. It will be an incredible memorial."