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By Tim Clarke Thursday 29 November 2012 Updated: 29/11 17:00
AN APPEAL has been launched to help fund a bronze statue of Worcestershire legend Basil D'Oliveira which would stand proudly at the heart of the redeveloped entrance to New Road.
The plans were revealed by the newly-formed Basil D'Oliveira Foundation this week which needs to raise about £100,000 through donations to fund the sculpture.
The foundation, whose patrons include Sir Ian Botham, Sir Michael Parkinson and Sir Mervyn King, believe it would provide a fitting legacy to the life of the former England all-rounder who lost his battle with Parkinson's Disease a year ago this month.
With enough support the foundation also hopes to fund an exchange scheme for young cricketers in Worcestershire and Cape Town in South Africa, the place of D'Oliveira's birth.
Foundation chairman Norman Gifford, who was a Worcestershire and England team-mate of D'Oliveira, said: "I think it's a fitting tribute to Basil. Once he moved here this was his home and he stayed here all his life. Worcestershire was his pride and joy.
"I looked at a photo of him the other day with Nelson Mandela and he's wearing his Worcestershire blazer. For me that typifies how Basil felt about this county."
D'Oliveira's son Damian, who is now academy director at the club, said it was incredible to think his family had been involved with Worcestershire for nearly 50 years.
"It's hard to get away from that fact - I come in every day and look at his name on the stand here and now I am going to end up driving over the New Road bridge and will be looking at his face," he said.
"He would have been over the moon about the exchange programme. The fact it will develop cricketers not only here but over in South Africa is fantastic and he would have loved that."
Experienced sculptor John McKenna has been chosen to design and create the statue and his previous work includes the sculpture of former Scotland football manager Jock Stein which stands outside Celtic's Parkhead Stadium.
A photo competition will decide the design of the statue with people invited to send in their photographs of D'Oliveira in action from which a winner will be chosen. A separate competition will also decide what words are inscribed on the statue's plaque.
To find out more about how to enter the competitions and how to support the foundation's appeal visit www.doliveirafoundation.org.uk
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