By Joe Tapp
Organisers of celebrations marking Ramsgate’s 200-year status as a Royal Harbour are appealing for £50,000 to complete a landmark statue of King George IV – who bestowed the regal honour.
They hope the bicentennial weekend events on September 24-26 will boost the fundraising needed for the 15ft-high statue’s bronze casting, site groundworks, and plinth.
It will also be a poignant memorial to its creator and Ramsgate resident Dominic Grant, a member of 1970s music group Guys ‘n’ Dolls, which had two UK Top 10 hits with ‘There’s A Whole Lot of Loving’ and ‘You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me’.
Dominic went on to become an internationally recognised and award-winning sculptor, committing two years to the King George statue as his ‘Legacy to Ramsgate’, his adopted home town, and marking its unique Royal Harbour status.
Tragically, he died unexpectedly in November 2020, but his wife and Guys ‘n’ Dolls bandmate Julie Forsyth – daughter of legendary entertainer Bruce Forsyth – and their family completed the lower back of the sculpture.
She is now leading an appeal for £50,000 to have the statue positioned on the Ramsgate harbourside, where it is expected to be a landmark, focal point, and meeting place for residents and visitors alike.
Julie said: “Dominic loved Ramsgate. We came here 12 years ago and fell for the town and the harbour – we bought a home immediately.
“We were told about the Royal status and were amazed there was no statue to King George so Dominic decided to do something about it, he gave his time and Sculpting talent to the creation of King George.
‘We would be so proud to see King George ‘returned’ once more to Ramsgate, marking that Royal status and as a legacy to Dominic’s amazing work and his passion for the place he came to regard as home.”
Famous actress Brenda Blethyn OBE, currently celebrating ten years of ITV’s most successful drama series ‘Vera’, has already pledged a generous donation towards completing the statue.
She says she lives and breathes the area where she grew up and believes the statue would be the perfect tribute to King George IV and Ramsgate’s royal connections: “My head and heart are in Ramsgate, and I love it here. We’ve got a beautiful harbour, and we’re about to celebrate its 200th anniversary.”
Royal Harbour 200th Anniversary Festival director Ralph Hoult OBE also wants to see the statue finished and has big plans for its unveiling:
“Upon receiving my OBE from Her Majesty The Queen, I took the opportunity to explain the forthcoming Royal Harbour 200th Anniversary Festival.
“Subsequently, we have spoken with the Lord Lieutenant of Kent’s office to see if a senior member of the Royal Family would attend the anniversary celebrations – we hope to confirm that shortly.
“But once the statue by Dominic Grant is erected after the celebrations and the final fundraising is completed, we rather hope young Prince George can unveil King George’s statue as one of his first official engagements – what could be better?
“The Royal Harbour 200th Anniversary Festival will be marvellous, and we hope it can assist fund-raising to put the statue in place permanently.
“Activities and attractions will include the world-famous Tall Ship ‘Royalist’, the 80th-anniversary celebrations of the WW2 ‘Little Ships’ Dunkirk repatriation, a multi-million-pound Royal Navy submarine simulator, a major funfair, market stalls, costumed walks, vintage vehicles, music and entertainment and a variety show called ‘The Royal Harbour of Ramsgate Gala Show.”
One of the main sponsors for the festival is Blueberry Homes, which is currently completing the £50 million beachfront development Royal Sands Ramsgate. A spokesperson from Blueberry Homes said: “The completion of the King George IV statue would not only be a tribute to the former king and its late creator Dominic Grant but add to the significant regeneration in this historic maritime town, showing that Ramsgate is well and truly heading back to its heyday.”
To donate towards finishing the King George IV statue please click here.
How about spending £50,000 on Margate sea front which never have money spent on it,
Most people head for Margate so it should be blooming with colour.
Margate has sands with amusements on and a whole sea front of amusements. So let ramsgate have the heritage status it deserves.. Margate is a different type of seaside town
This is so full of crap. its unbelievable! The monarchy exists to detract, and distract people from the very real problems this country has! They inherit wealth and privilege, wealth they plundered from poor working people mostly, the only one of the royal family I have any time for is Harry, because he got out of it, and served on active service, no matter how misguided it was in Afghanistan!
Most countries manage fine without a so called monarch, who inherits their position by birth, would you let someone pull your teeth if they inherited becoming a dentist whether they wanted to be one or not, just because their father, or mother was one, Duurh! There must be something more worthy to use this money on, lets start with donating it to food banks, now the school holidays are underway!
Fabulous idea, though I’m sure the “woke” mob and anti-royalists are campaigning against at this very moment.
oh yeah – we really need that when the rest of the towns boarded up and falling to bits , if we do get one they want to dump it in that ” arts ” barge and sink the bloody thing ! some people see this town through rose tinted spectacles , or they are harking back to the 20s and 30s – er newsflash times have changed
ps – i totaly agree with the above statement about the royals – bang on !
why dont they have one of sir ralph instead , it would be somewhere for the pigeons and seagulls to sit
‘They should spend the money on this” or “they should spend the money on that” – I struggle to see the bit where it is public money ! This is an appeal for private donors…….
It’s a breath of fresh air to know its going on something worthwhile than putting into woke brigade trying to stop Manston from reopening what a waste of money that was that money could have gone to the king George statue.
It won’t be the “woke brigade”(whoever they are- did you mean to say”people who are concerned about the environmental damage caused by aviation”?) who stop Manston from reopening, it will be the Secretary of State,if he reads the Planning Inspectorate’s recommendations with an open mind.
As far as I can see Marva, “woke” means those of us who are socially and politicly aware, or conscious as it used to be known! People who have made this into a pejorative term, are like a remark I heard Trump make when he was campaigning for re-election, which he lost! He said at one of his badly attended rallies “We love the poorly educated”. Well, of course he does, they are politically ill informed, and ignorant, so easier to con! The money for this monstrosity should be paid into a Food Bank, so kids don’t go hungry during the summer holiday!
What has Manston got to do with this (Kent resident)? And go get your own name instead of confusing the situation with mine.
Ask Thanet council to pay for it or donations from blueberry homes and all the developers who have paid barging deals with the council
Margate is Not a Royal Harbour Ramsgate deserves it
Perhaps ask the descendants of George IV to cough up?
Always the begging bowl out, will make no difference to Ramsgate still a shit hole which ever way you see it
The foul-mouthed locals don’t help matters.
Speak for yourself, Chris. There are plenty of residents who don’t see Ramsgate as “a shit hole”.
whilst i also think this is one of the most stupid ideas i have seen lately , why dont sir ralph and the others ask the locals a few random questions about good old king george , they would not have a clue who he was , or know anything about him , and no doubt they would not have the slightest interest in him or his descendants.
Actually I think most people like the royal family (and I don’t mean the TV show!).
Apart from Me-Gain and Pea-Brain that is!
can someone explain what a barging deal is please ( with tdc ) – no doubt its something underhand and dodgy?
What has amusements got to do with it ,
Margate needs investment and for empty shops Margate has it’s problems too ,broadstairs and Ramsgate are always having cash spent on them by TDC, royal town or not all seaside towns in thanet should be treated the same, but Margate never have cash spent on the town at all .
Margate never has cash spent on it ? Havent you heard of the Turner Centre and all the free cash that’s gets ? Margate is a macca for arty people now and margate is really hip. It’s in the in place to go according to the Sunday supplements.
Margate has more spent on it than all the other thanet towns put together !
hold on , i think i was a bit hasty , maybe it is a good idea after all, its something for the youngsters and others to do , they can stand and stare at a £50,000 lump of bronze that depicts a dead king from centuries ago that maybe came here twice ?
Art, you talk a load of sh_t ,