COLUMN: Bowie statue is a chance to invest in a little bit of hope

David Bowie at Friars, July 15, 1972
David Bowie at Friars, July 15, 1972

In my job, and in particular the public facing side of it, it’s my job not to have an opinion – and to use the news pages of our paper to best reflect yours.

Since January I have heard a very wide range of opinions on David and Sue Stopps’ campaign to create a David Bowie statue under the arches in Market Square.

Some people just say bluntly that it’s a complete waste of money, others think that the money could be better spent elsewhere – and others, and there are plenty of them, are all for the tourism boosting project.

And do you know what, I’m going to use this column to express my opinion too.

In the past few weeks we have seen some very worthy charitable causes featured in our pages, we have

seen fundraising for David Williams’ safety campaign after his son Craigy tragically died on holiday and we have seen the tremendous outpouring of support for brain tumour sufferer, Ollie.

These are serious and supremely worthwhile things, and I’m so glad that the public are continuing to show their support and be generous. Long may it continue because those causes need you.

But those fundrasing campaigns in my view are very different to what David Stopps is trying to achieve, it’s like trying to judge a rabbit against a guinea pig – they are two entirely different creatures.

I think society in general, would have us all believe that an investment in the arts is in general frivolous, or a

waste of all our time and money, that the money would pretty much always be better off in a more deserving pocket. But the arts from Shakespeare to the Sex Pistols is part of what makes our country so great, and this David Bowie statue is an opportunity for our town.

In that statue we would be saying ‘yes, we are a town with a soul, we remember our heritage and look to our future’. Just like Bowie – the every changing chameleon did so frequently during his lifetime.

I, for one, have a tenner to spare for a little bit of hope, and I’m sure there are plenty of local firms and individuals that are able to contribute even more than me.

Let’s invest in all of us – not instead of other things – but as well as, because we are worth it!