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Statue honours Hunstanton’s founder Henry Styleman le Strange

PUBLISHED: 13:23 08 June 2017 | UPDATED: 13:23 08 June 2017

The statue of Henry LeStrange at Hunstanton. Picture: Chris Bishop

The statue of Henry LeStrange at Hunstanton. Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

A life-sized statue of Hunstanton’s founding father now stands proudly on the Green.

An aerial view from the 1950s. Picture: Archant library An aerial view from the 1950s. Picture: Archant library

Henry Styleman le Strange now stares purposefully out to sea, thanks to funding from a host of local people and businesses, West Norfolk council and the lottery.

Victorian nobleman Le Strange dreamed of creating a seaside resort to rival the likes of Brighton and Southend on the shores of The Wash.

In the 1840s, he convinced investors to back his idea by funding a railway line to bring trippers to the coast.

An aerial view of Hunstanton, believed to have been taken in the 1940s or 50s. Picture: Archant library An aerial view of Hunstanton, believed to have been taken in the 1940s or 50s. Picture: Archant library

He died aged 47 the year the line was opened, in 1862, so did not live to see the town become a success.

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Hunstanton from the air today. Picture: Mike Page Hunstanton from the air today. Picture: Mike Page

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Hunstanton resident and civic society member Brian Holmes was behind the idea of a statue made to celebrate the contribution that Henry Styleman le Strange made to Hunstanton.

Businessman William Searle raised £12,000 from donations towards the £40,000 statue, with £20,000 allocated from the lottery-funded Hunstanton Heritage Gardens project, and £8,000 from West Norfolk council.

The statue was designed and made by artist Alan Herriot, who also produced the King John statue in King’s Lynn. It depicts le Strange as a Victorian gentleman in a well-tailored suit, looking out over the Green.

Michael Meaking from the le Strange Estate, said: “It is a great honour for the le Strange family to have the founder of Hunstanton recognised in this way. The statue is a permanent reminder of the man whose vision created the town.”

To mark the unveiling, traditional, Victorian-inspired activities will be held on The Green on Friday, June 16 (4.30pm), with the official unveiling at 5.30pm, followed by a performance of le Strange’s Dream, a ballad by Gareth Calway written specially for the project.

Mr Calway said: “Henry Styleman le Strange was one of the great Victorian creators. He understood that art and visions needed to be practical to actually happen in the real world.

“Part of his practicality was his generosity. He poured his own time and money into community projects, and gave up some of his own land to enable them.”
Elizabeth Nockolds, the council’s cabinet member for heritage, said: “It is great to see that the spirit of Henry Styleman le Strange lives on in Hunstanton with people willing to contribute their own time and money to support community projects like this.”

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