By Kieran O’Mahony
CLONAKILTY is to honour one of its most famous adopted sons – by immortalising Noel Redding with a life size statue in the heart of the town.
The former bass player with the Jimi Hendrix Experience died in 2003 but made Clonakilty his home many years before his death.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan confirmed this week that Cork County Council will contribute €5,000 towards the cost of the project, which will be a huge step towards what he described as ‘a cultural landmark that could re-enforce Clonakilty’s label as the music capital of West Cork’.
‘This will be a fantastic boost for the hardworking Noel Redding Memorial Committee as for years they have envisaged remembering Noel in a suitable manner and this announcement will certainly help,’ Cllr O’Sullivan told The Southern Star.
‘Noel Redding was a musical icon who did so much to put Clonakilty on the map as a music destination. People have come from all corners of the globe to visit and experience the place where Noel plied his trade on such a regular basis as well as being the place he called home.’
The project will be co-funded by Cork County Council, along with funds raised by private donations from fans of the English-born musician, who made Clonakilty his home back in 1972, along with his partner Carol Appleby. However, according to Cllr O’Sullivan, there is a lot of work to be done before any statue can be unveiled.
‘This needs to be done in the correct away. Firstly, a suitable site must be identified in consultation with businesses and residents of the town. Also, it is imperative that the design and quality of the statue is to the highest order, so the work of the committee is far from over,’ he said.
Ray Blackwell, chairperson of the Noel Redding Memorial Committee, said Redding had a huge cultural impact on Clonakilty and West Cork, which continues to this day.
‘The committee is delighted to have Noel’s contribution, not just to Clonakilty, but to popular culture, acknowledged by the Municipal District of West Cork and we are looking forward to the completion of this project with their support. This has the potential to be of huge benefit to West Cork as a whole, drawing tourists and rock ‘n’ rollers from all over the world,’ said Ray.
Cllr O’Sullivan also praised the hardworking committee of which he himself is a member, along with Emer Shanley, Bobby and Ray Blackwell and Olive Finn, who was a close friend of Noel’s.
‘They are the people who knew Noel best and listening to them share their stories and experiences of him, it’s hard not to be proud of the time he spent here,’ added Cllr O’Sullivan.
‘The Phil Lynott statue in Dublin has become a magnet for tourists and I genuinely believe that a worthy statue of Noel Redding will become similarly iconic,’ he said.
It is expected the statue will be unveiled next year. The Noel Redding Experience – a weekend of music and memories celebrating the life and career of Noel Redding will once again take place in Clonakilty from May 6th-8th.