Bronze tribute depicts poet Philip Larkin rushing for train at Paragon
RUSHING to catch a train, he clutches a manuscript in one hand and his hat in the other.
A bronze statue of Philip Larkin has taken centre stage at Hull's Paragon Interchange.
The 7ft sculpture was unveiled on the 25th anniversary of the death of the poet and former University Of Hull librarian.
The ceremony was attended by dozens of dignitaries, including Hull West and Hessle MP Alan Johnson, and the statue was unveiled by the Lord Mayor Of Hull, Councillor David Gemmell.
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Sculptor Martin Jennings spoke of his joy at being chosen to create the piece.
He said: "I was absolutely delighted to be commissioned to make the sculpture of one of Britain's greatest poets.
"Philip Larkin found his natural home in Hull and his name will forever be linked to the city."
The unveiling also included the first performance of Nathaniel Seaman's Begin Afresh, a Fanfare For Larkin, performed by trumpeter Anthony Thompson.
The statue was commissioned by the Philip Larkin Society as part of their Larkin25 celebrations, which also included the hugely successful Larkin With Toads sculpture trail.
The making of the statue by Mr Jennings cost £65,000 with an overall
budget of close to £100,000.
The bronze piece was funded by donations from businesses, organisations, and individuals including Tom Courtenay, Alan Ayckbourn and Maureen Lipman.
The statue has been positioned outside the entrance to The Royal Hotel in Paragon Station, which was favoured by Larkin and included in some of his poetry.
Carole Collinson, chairwoman of the Larkin Society Statue Committee, co-ordinated the fundraising campaign.
She said: "We are all absolutely delighted to see the finished statue in place.
"It captures beautifully the status of Larkin as a great poet and librarian.
"We have received incredible support from so many people for this new sculpture for Hull, from many individuals and companies in the city and far beyond, as well as support from well-known Larkin fans.
"We know they will all be very proud of having been a part of making this wonderful artwork, worthy of the poet and the city it celebrates."
Although Larkin was born in Coventry, he spent most of his life in Hull and was the librarian at the University Of Hull from 1955 to 1985.
It was during his time in the city that Larkin wrote some of his most celebrated works, including The Whitsun Weddings and High Windows.
A limited number of 15-inch bronze maquettes of the statue have gone on sale, at a cost of £3,000 plus VAT. For more details, visit www.philiplarkin.com