Key backing in quest for Pete Shelley statue

Shelley performing in California seven years ago
Shelley performing in California seven years ago

A campaign to build a lasting tribute to a borough rock legend has received another wave of support from musicians and politicians.

Leigh residents and local councillors are one step closer to erecting a statue of The Buzzcocks front man, Pete Shelley, in the town centre.

Shelley, lead singer and guitarist in the revered band died, from a heart attack at his home in Estonia aged just 63 on December 6.

Born in Milton Street, Shelley founded the iconic band at Bolton Tech. They also played one of punk’s most famous gigs with The Sex Pistols at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in 1976 and released four albums before splitting in 1981.

The bid has already received a financial boost following a charity gig which took place at the Boulevard earlier this year, and from the sale of memorabilia mugs created by The Mug Shop in Tyldesley.

Paul Lally, a staunch campaign supporter, said that the project has received unwavering support from Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Leigh MP Jo Platt, who recently met with the group.

Plans are now being put in place for a Pete Shelley exhibition, which if successful, would be launched at The Turnpike in Leigh later this year.

“We thought it would be a great idea,” said Mr Lally. “Especially with Pete’s family being involved with the campaign.

“They have access to things that can be exhibited. A few other things have been thrown in so we can make a week-long thing of it.

“An official announcement will be made once things are in place.

“Andy Burnham has been supportive of it from the start.”

As well as garnering local support, the campaign has piqued the interest of Buzzcocks fans across the country and word has even reached across the pond.

Paul added: “We am going to be given a kind donation of three guitars to auction off for the fund, kindly supplied by Eastwood guitars, who Pete used to use.

“His first guitar was from them. He played with it for quite a while.

“I have been speaking to them for around two months now. I feel like this is an amazing gesture from them. Hats off and a big respect to Eastwood Guitars.”

Berkshire punk band Pinewood County have also thrown their hat into the ring, creating a charity single - all of the proceeds of which will go to the memorial statue fund.

Without You, written by Guy Paul Mitchell Dwelly, is a tribute song to Pete Shelley - with whom the musician had a “connection”.

“The charity single is amazing,” said Paul. “When you listen to it you can hear the Buzzcocks influence.

“It’s very similar to their music.”

The song has already gone out on through all the major downloading channels including iTunes and Google Play.

Campaigners have already got a number of events lined up to help boost the fund over the next few months.

The series of fundraisers will kick off on May 11 with a live music concert at The Boulevard in Wigan. On June 15 there will be another fundraising gig at The Abbey in Leigh, where Guy will perform his charity single.

In an attempt to include residents of all ages, the campaign group is also hoping to host a family fun day at The Gardeners in Atherton on August 10.

The event, which will be officially opened by local actor Will Travis, will include a craft fair, bowling competition and live music in the evening.

For more information about how to get involved visit the “Pete Shelley Memorial Statue Campaign” group on Facebook.