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Fond memories are shared of historic statue as campaign is launched to bring him back to public view

PUBLISHED: 18:25 13 February 2018

Curators, Hannah Henderson, left, and Jenny Caynes, with the replica Samson, at the launch of the Saving Samson fundraising campaign to display the restored Samson figure at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Curators, Hannah Henderson, left, and Jenny Caynes, with the replica Samson, at the launch of the Saving Samson fundraising campaign to display the restored Samson figure at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A six-week campaign has launched to bring a popular sculpture of Norwich back into the public view.

Curators, Hannah Henderson, left, and Jenny Caynes, with the replica Samson, at the launch of the Saving Samson fundraising campaign to display the restored Samson figure at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYCurators, Hannah Henderson, left, and Jenny Caynes, with the replica Samson, at the launch of the Saving Samson fundraising campaign to display the restored Samson figure at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The campaign Saving Samson hopes to raise £15,000 to enable the famous sculpture - which stood outside a Tomband dance hall with his fellow statue Hercules - to be displayed in the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell.

At the launch, fond memories were shared of the Samson statue and his original home at the Tombland dance hall, before being removed in 1993 for preservation reasons.

Nina Carter, 66, has been a resident of the city since 1973.

She said: “The only ever dance floor I went to was in Leicester Square. The Samson and Hercules was the first nightclub that I went to here in Norwich.

Sharing their memories of the Samson and Hercules at the launch of the Saving Samson fundraising campaign, from left, Terry Bean who met his wife there in 1979; John Ward, chairman of the joint Museums Committee, whose parents met at the nightclub; and Nina Carter, who first went there in 1973. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSharing their memories of the Samson and Hercules at the launch of the Saving Samson fundraising campaign, from left, Terry Bean who met his wife there in 1979; John Ward, chairman of the joint Museums Committee, whose parents met at the nightclub; and Nina Carter, who first went there in 1973. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“I have fond memories and it was a safe and happy place, with a lot of the old-fashioned values of respecting each other.

“Little did I realise the statue I once pushed past was a piece of history.”

Project curators behind the Saving Samson campaign want to ensure the sculpture is preserved for future generations in a special case that would protect him and allow him to remain on public display.

Hannah Henderson, one of the curators, said: “We are working with the Art Fund to raise £15,000 in six weeks to bring Samson back to Norwich.

“We want to hear people’s memories of the nightclub and Samson. This is Samson’s chance. If we don’t get enough funding we don’t get any at all. We need people to help Samson and we’ve only got six weeks.”

Terry Bean, 60, from Norwich, said: “I started going to the Samson and Hercules at around 1976. I then met my wife there in 1979. I think it would be brilliant for Samson to come back, and I really do think the amount is reachable.”

John Ward, chairman of Norfolk County Council, said: “My parents met at Samson and Hercules whilst at a dance in the war. My father was a corporate in the Royal West Regiment based in Mousehold and my mother and her twin sister were both hostesses at the dance that evening.

“I’m hoping there will be an exhibition when Samson comes to the museum.”

To donate funds to the Saving Samson campaign, visit www.artfund.org/saving-samson

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