The Coleraine Times has this week backed a campaign to have a statue of Manchester United legend Harry Gregg in Coleraine.
The idea is the brain child of Harry’s close friend Liam Beckett. He spoke to The Times this week, and says that he aims to have a bronze statue of the Manchester United legend in place in around 12 months time.
Gregg, a proud Coleraine man, made 25 appearances for Northern Ireland and played for Manchester United during the reign of Sir Matt Busby with 247 appearances for the club. A survivor of the Munich air crash in 1958, Gregg was one of the disaster’s great heroes.
Having escaped with just a bloody nose, he bravely went back into the wreckage to pull out those who were trapped.
After two separate meetings with Coleraine Borough Council, Liam told The Times that this week Council confirmed they will be unable to help finance the project.
“I have already been in contact with David Annand, who produced the Dunlop sculptures in Ballymoney. I have a rough figure of £40,000 for the Harry Gregg statue. I will now be setting up a small committee, which will include the Gregg family and my hope is that the sculpture will be in Coleraine within the next year.”
Liam, who was the main driver behind the memorial garden for motorcycling legends Joey and Robert Dunlop in Ballymoney, added: “The location and the look of the sculpture will be down to the Gregg family. They will have the final say in everything. It has got to be right.”
Beckett added: “ Harry is modest, he came from a working class background, he is a proud family man and he has a family that is very proud of him.
Harry is not just a local star, he is a world star, and he’s still with us. He’s done enough in his career to warrant a statue in his home town, a place he is very proud of. If he was in England this would have been done a long time ago.”
Liam has already got his pal, the former Northern Ireland and Manchester United player, Keith Gillespie on board to help plan a legends football style fundraiser.
Liam is also planning a white collar boxing night and a golf classic in a bid to raise the cash for the statue.
“This will be a statue donated by the people of Coleraine.
“Harry is very proud of his roots and I really think he will be proud.”
In a statement, Coleraine Council said: “Coleraine Borough Council confirms that meetings have been held to discuss the proposal for a statue of Harry Gregg in Coleraine. Council has proposed that the same approach is taken that successfully delivered the Bertie Peacock statue and has offered to support the project by providing staff effort. Details of which are yet to be worked upon and confirmed.”