Northern Ireland legend Pat Jennings is set to be immortalised with a special statue in his home city.
The former Tottenham, Arsenal and Watford shot-stopper will be recognised for his achievements on and off the pitch.
A group called 'Friends of Big Pat' have come together with support from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to agree on a statue which will be erected in Newry next year.
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Group Chairperson Adrian Toner said talks were currently under way to secure a suitable site for the statue.
He said: “We as a group are delighted that NMDDC have agreed in principle to erect a new sculpture in honour of Pat Jennings.
"Presently, we’re in negotiations regarding a suitable location within the city that will reflect in our opinion a valuable asset to the city as a visitor attraction and representing a son of Newry, who over the years has proudly engaged and identified with the people of the locality."
Local councillor and current Chairperson of NMDDC Michael Savage, who proposed the motion at council, added: “I’m delighted that council have supported this and a statue of Pat Jennings would be a fitting tribute to a living legend of Newry, who has been a remarkable ambassador to the city both on and off the field.”
The motion at Council received cross-community support with UUP councillor David Taylor seconding.
He stated: “I am very supportive of the proposal to erect a statue in honour of Pat Jennings.
"He is very proud of his local roots and his contribution to Northern Ireland International football in particular is legendary. It is only right that a permanent tribute is provided for Pat Jennings.
"The people of Newry take great pride in his achievements and to see one of our greatest ever international football players recognised in this way is very fitting."
Adrian Toner, FOBP Chairperson, continued, “Now the hard work has started, we need to raise funding to produce and erect the statue.
"Our committee has come up with several initiatives some still in the planning stage. To start with we have produced a website at friendsofbigpat.com
"On this website we welcome everyone to get involved.”
Larry Powell, a lifelong friend of Big Pat’s is a fellow committee member.
He explained some of the ways fans can help support the statue fundraising campaign.
“We’ve started off very well with a golf tournament being organised," he said.
"Also we have an auction online from Ross’s Auction House Belfast which has some amazing paintings from a private collection and Pat himself has donated signed images from his own collection of memorabilia featuring some great shots of times with the likes of George Best and indeed his final match at the World Cup against Brazil.
"I would tell everyone to go to our website and link onto the online auction all proceeds go directly to funds to erect the statue.”
"You can get involved directly by linking to friendsofbigpat.com website where you can donate directly by clicking on 'donate now'.
"Your support would be greatly appreciated in honour of this huge gentleman of Newry and Northern Ireland Pat Jennings."
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