Funding blow for statue

Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood.
Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood.

Plans for a bronze statue of the man who founded the town of Fleetwood have been given a second knock-back by funders.

Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood may have helped create the town and even gave it his name but there are few visible signs of his significance around the port.

Campaigners in Fleetwood have been trying to put that right by finding funds to erect a statue to Sir Peter, who died just over 150 years ago, in the town’s Euston Gardens.

Fleetwood Civic Society, Fielden Fleetwood Charity Trust and a group of other organisations have approached various funding bodies to help cover the total cost of £55,000.

The group has already secured a promise of £25,000 from Doreen Lofthouse OBE if they can raise the rest of the cash.

But last autumn, an application was rejected by windfarm company DONG Energy, which has a special fund for Morecambe Bay community projects.

Now the group have also been turned down by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Margaret Daniels, chairman of Fleetwood Civic Society, said: “We thought it wasn’t right that at the present time there is no recognition of Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood in the town except a street named Hesketh Place.

“It is the 150th anniversary of his death last year and we thought it would be a fitting tribute to, and reminder of, the man who developed the town.

“But unfortunately, our latest application has been rejected again.

“The Lottery people didn’t seem to think it would meet their criteria. It is very disappointing news. Sir Peter is important to Fleetwood.”

However, the group is determined to keep going and will now be looking elsewhere for funds.

In a letter to Mrs Daniels, the Lottery Fund stated that there was “potentially a struggle to demonstrate how the application would meet the outcome” required by the funders.

The Lottery Fund felt too much cash would be spent on the production and installation of the statue and not enough people would actually get to see it.

Sir Peter spent several years and much of his considerable fortune developing Fleetwood into a Victorian holiday resort and port, hiring his friend, the noted architect Decimus Burton, to design his new town.

But the expense of building it left Sir Peter, an MP for Preston who opposed slavery and capital punishment, close to bankruptcy.

Anyone able to help with funding ideas can contact Mrs Daniels on (01253) 770652.