Support is growing for statue of David Bowie in Market Square to celebrate his ‘special connection’ with Aylesbury, which was fist proposed by Friars Club supremo David Stopps.
Bowie, who died earlier this week, debuted his world famous Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album at Friars Aylesbury in 1972, as well as his Hunky Dory record the previous year.
Mr Stopps said the first line of the first song on the Ziggy album, Five Years, even references Aylesbury: “Pushing through the Market Square/ So many mothers sighing/ News had just come over/ We had five years left to cry in.”
Mr Stopps said Bowie was ‘the greatest Friars hero’.
“There is a huge connection between Bowie and Aylesbury. He debuted two of his most iconic albums here. Some say Ziggy Stardust is the most important album of the 20th century.
“Someone once said to me that Aylesbury is famous for three things – ducks, the Great Train Robbery and Friars Aylesbury. We should celebrate this.”
Bowie played Friars Aylesbury four times – three gigs at the Borough Assembly Hall in the early 70s and one at the Civic Centre in 1977. Neither venue now exists. The Borough Assembly Hall was located behind the Green Man in Market Square and Mr Stopps said its stage would have been where Next is in Hale Leys.
In 2014 Bowie sent Mr Stopps a text message to mark the launch of the Friars exhibition. It read: ‘Memories are everything apparently, and I have only great ones of the fabulous Friars.”
Mr Stopps added: “There is already the example of the Ronnie Barker statue outside the Waterside Theatre but he had very little connection with Aylesbury. He started his career in Aylesbury –ironically at the Borough Assembly Hall too. But he had no special connection – and Bowie absolutely did.”
Mr Stopps, who said the statue should reflect his Ziggy Stardust phase, also plans to create a space in Market Square within the next few days where people can leave flowers and tributes to the musician.
His campaign for a statue has been backed by the Aylesbury Society’s honorary secretary Roger King, while the Bucks Herald’s Back in Time columnist Karl Vaughan said: “I feel more strongly than ever that a permanent piece of artwork should be put up somewhere near the site of the Borough Assembly Hall or Civic Centre in memory of not just David Bowie but all the acts who made Friars the place to be. This must happen.”
Bucks county councillor Phil Gomm said he was with Mr Stopps ‘regarding a statue of him in Aylesbury town centre. I want to help and many will want to as well.Lets all get together’.