Former England cricketer Matthew Hoggard MBE visited Kirkby on Saturday to officially unveil the new bronze cricket statues created as part of the town’s revamp.
The statues celebrate Kirkby’s cricketing heritage, as home of legendary England cricketers Harold Larwood and Bill Voce.
The duo played starring roles in the 1932-33 ‘Bodyline’ tour of Australia, and the new cricket player statues by renowned bronze sculptor David Annand, have been located along with the existing Harold Larwood bronze, in a new location outside the library.
The grouping re-creates a scene from a match in the controversial test series, with the batsman portrayed being the iconic Australian cricketer Sir Donald Bradman and the fielder Bill Voce.
Hoggard, one of the stars of England’s 2005 Ashes series win, was one of several special guests in attendance at the town centre launch event.
He was joined by Kirkby swimming hero Ollie Hynd MBE and local women’s cricket legend Enid Bakewell, whose photographs are featured on the new art wall in the town centre.
Leader of Ashfield District Council, Councillor Cheryl Butler, read a poem about Larwood written by Kirkby resident Barry Shipley, who was inspired after he saw the statue of Larwood the first time in 2007.
Meanwhile music entertainment on the day included local star and Miss England competitor Alex Ross and John Young, who performed the ‘Larwood Song’ at the request of Enid Todd, Harold Larwood’s daughter, who lives in Australia.
The council’s vice chairman Councillor David Griffiths thanked everyone involved in the revamp of Kirkby Plaza before counting down to a balloon release.
Deputy leader of Ashfield District Council, Councillor Don Davis said: “We are immensely proud of the plaza and art works which have been positively received.
“They form part of the regeneration programme that continues in Kirkby and around the district.”
The town centre improvements were funded through Section 106 funding from Morrisons and housing developers and part financed by the European Regional Development Fund with a contribution of over £400,000.