A crowdfunding campaign to erect a statue of the late comedian Victoria Wood in Bury, Lancashire has received a major boost courtesy of Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench. The James Bond star has backed the permanent tribute with £1,000 donation.
Chris Foote Wood, who launched the JustGiving page for his sister, said the 81-yaer-old's gift has pushed the appeal fund past the £10,000 mark. " [It] means 400 people have contributed so far! Keep up the good work, and circulate it as much as possible. Again, my sincere thanks to all who have contributed thus far."
He hopes that her endorsement will "encourage more actors, comedians and other showbiz professionals to contribute."
Wood passed away on 20 April after a short battle with cancer. Confirming the sad news, her publicist Neil Reading said the mult-Bafta-award-winning writer died peacefully at her north London home surrounded by family.
After finding fame on talent show New Faces in 1974, the 62-year-old star went on to star in popular comedy shows such as BBC 1's Dinnerladies, Acorn Antiques and Victoria Wood As Seen in TV. The mother-of-two received a special Bafta tribute award in 2005 and in 1997 she was made an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours, later being made a CBE in 2008.
Although Foote Wood has the support of Bury Council, which has agreed to provide the site and do ongoing maintenance, he must raise the cost of creating the likeness. So far the campaign has£11,691 of the £20,000 needed.
Wood, who was born in Prestwich and lived in Bury until she was 18, once dismissed the idea of being a "national treasure" nominating stars Dench among other female stars for the title. "There should only ever be one at a time," she told the Daily Mail. "For years, it was Dame Thora Hird. After she died, it was going to be Judi Dench, but then Joanna Lumley saved the Gurkhas so she got the gig."