HAVE you ever fancied pulling up a seat alongside a legendary Saints player, the man who created the aircraft which helped win the Battle of Britain or one of the most widely read writers in English literature?
Now it’s possible thanks to green charity Sustrans, which is funding a new £5,000 art sculpture.
Famous figures from Southampton’s past and present are to be immortalised in three life-sized statues in the city centre.
And it is up to Daily Echo readers to choose the three people they want to see sculpted out of sheet steel and installed behind a “portrait bench”.
The two-dimensional figures will sit at Horseshoe Bridge on the £1m boardwalk in St Deny’s along the River Itchen by the railway line.
Sustainable transport organisation Sustrans has been given the cash as part of a national £50m lottery funded project.
The shortlist has now been released by the charity – and it is up to you to get voting. On the list is Saints player Matt Le Tissier, Spitfire inventor RJ Mitchell, novelist Jane Austen, Olympic diver Pete Waterfield, King Canute, TV wildlife presenter Chris Packham, women’s rights campaigner Emily Davies, TV gardening presenter Charlie Dimmock, pop star Craig David and Oscar winning animator Suzie Templeton.
Sustran’s Nick Farthing said “portrait benches” are being rolled out across the UK and said the idea is that people will be able to stop and be photographed sitting or standing with the figures.
He said: “It is a chance to celebrate the local characters and give somewhere for people to sit, enjoy the views and just to link in the community with the history and to promote the route.
“This is one of the few places you can get next to the waterside in Southampton.
“We want three people to be chosen so we are urging people to vote through the Daily Echo to tell us who they want to see immortalised.”
Who can you vote for?
R J MITCHELL (1895-1937)
Reginald Joseph Mitchell was a British aeronautical engineer best known for his design of the
Supermarine Spitfire which was crucial to Britain’s victory in the Second World War.
The Southamptonborn pop star is a Grammy-nominated singer songwriter who rose to fame in
1999 featuring on an Artful Dodger track. Craig David grew up on the Holyrood estate and made music from his bedroom.
KING CANUTE (c.985-1035)
Canute was a Danish King of England who reigned between 1016 and 1035. He was best
remembered for his futile attempt to stop the tide from coming in reputedly near Town Quay in
Southampton. He was buried in Winchester.
JANE AUSTEN (1775-1817)
Former Southampton resident Jane Austen is one of the most widely read writers in English literature thanks to her works of romantic fiction. .
EMILY DAVIES (1830-1921)
Born in Carlton Crescent, Southampton, Emily Davies was an English feminist, suffragist and a
pioneering campaigner for women’s rights to university access.
TV presenter andnaturalist Chris Packham is a wildlife expert, photographer and author with a
passionate concern for conservation and the environment. Born in Southampton in 1961 Chris completed an undergraduate at the zoology department of the University of Southampton.
MATT LE TISSIER
The 44-year-old legendary retired footballer spent his entire club career with Southampton
Football Club and played for the England squad. He currently works as a football pundit.
One of Britain’s most recognisable faces, Charlie Dimmock is a gardening expert and TV presenter who was the star of hit BBC show Ground Force.
Suzie Templeton, 45, born in Sherfield English, near Romsey and grew up in Southampton, is an Oscar-winning writer and director specialising in stop-motion animation. Her work includes the film Peter and the Wolf.
The 31-year-old Olympic silver medallist and Commonwealth gold winner, is one of the world’s
elite performers in his sport and lives in Millbrook with his wife Tania and his two young children.
Select the person you want to see immortalised on the ballots below. The three with the most votes will be selected as the winners.