Update: See photos of the unveiling on East Grinstead Online.
The statue of Sir Archibald McIndoe in East Grintsead will be unveiled by the Princess Royal on Monday.
The bronze statue is of a seated airman, his burned hands clawed together, his scarred face turned to one side. Standing behind him, resting a reassuring hand on each shoulder, is the figure of McIndoe, the plastic surgeon who performed his pioneering work in the town during WWII.
The memorial has been sculpted by Martin Jennings, who is well known for his statues of Sir John Betjeman at St Pancras station and Charles Dickens in Portsmouth.
You can read about the remarkable connection of the Sculptor and the Surgeon in The Daily Telegraph.
The memorial is sited outside Sackville College, the Jacobean Almshouse, in the High Street.
Princess Anne is the Patron of The Blond McIndoe Research Foundation, the research charity founded in the name of McIndoe, which works to improve wound healing, repair and regeneration to assist medical professionals treat burns survivors. The Duke of Edinburgh is also president and a long standing supporter of The Guinea Pig Club.
The unveiling marks the culmination of almost three years work – a project initiated by the East Grinstead Business Association and realised by the hard work of its Chief Executive, Stuart Scholes, Jacquie Pinney from the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation and Julie Holden, Town Clerk, East Grinstead Town Council.
So far, more than £100,000 towards a target of £175,000 has been raised to cover the cost of the statue and the surrounding stone landscaping.
Jacquie Pinney, member of the McIndoe Memorial steering group and Chief Executive of the BlondMcIndoe Research Foundation, said:
This will provide a lasting memory to East Grinstead’s world famous adopted son and will ensure the story of the people of East Grinstead, known as ‘the town that did not stare’, will always be remembered.
We are extremely grateful to all the hundreds of individuals and the local businesses that have supported our appeal.
We still have some way to go to reach our target, but now we have a date for the unveiling we hope this will encourage other people, businesses and organisations which have not yet supported the appeal to help us now.
Homegrown Films have made a documentary following the making of the public statue:
The unveiling will take place on Monday 9th June 9 at about 2pm (time subject to change).
Visit mcindoememorial.com to make a donation.