Pat Jennings to unveil his statue in Newry despite health scare

Pat Jennings

Pat Jennings, former Northern Ireland, and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper will attend the unveiling of a statue in his honor in his hometown of Newry on Wednesday, despite feeling unwell on Monday night. The 78-year-old was taken to hospital for tests after feeling dizzy and nauseous at the Premier League match between Spurs and Chelsea but was later discharged and given the all-clear. He said he was looking forward to the event and thanked his fans for their support and concern.

The statue, which was commissioned by the Friends of Big Pat Committee, is a tribute to Jennings’ remarkable career and contribution to football and charity. He won 119 caps for Northern Ireland, playing in two World Cups, and won five trophies with Tottenham and Arsenal. He was also named the Players’ Player of the Year in 1976 and the Football Writers’ Player of the Year in 1973. He was awarded an MBE in 1976 and a CBE in 2022.

Pat Jennings

Newry proud of its son

The idea of erecting a statue for Jennings came from fellow Newry man and broadcaster Kevin McAllister, who approached councillor Michael Savage three years ago. Savage said the statue was a fitting recognition of Jennings’ achievements and legacy. “Pat is a legend in the world of football and a hero to the people of Newry. He has always been a great ambassador for our city and our country, and we are delighted to honour him with this statue,” he said.

The statue, which cost more than £100,000, was funded by various fundraising events and donations from the public and local businesses. It was sculpted by renowned artist David Annand, who also created the George Best statue in Belfast. The statue depicts Jennings in his iconic pose of catching the ball with one hand, and stands at 2.5 metres tall on a granite plinth.

A day to remember

The unveiling ceremony will take place at 1pm on Wednesday at the Albert Basin Park in Newry, where a large crowd is expected to attend. Jennings will be joined by his family, friends, former teammates and dignitaries, as well as some of his fans and admirers. He said he was humbled and grateful for the honour, and hoped it would inspire future generations of footballers. “I’m very proud to say I’m a Newry man. Newry has always been my first home where I grew up and went to school and I still retain a home. I played my first football in Newry and have friends and family living in the city, indeed, my wife Eleanor is also from Newry,” he said.

The event will also feature live music, entertainment, food stalls and a display of memorabilia from Jennings’ career. A special exhibition of photographs and videos of Jennings will be shown at the Newry and Mourne Museum, which will be open to the public for free on the day. The statue will be a permanent attraction in the city, and a reminder of the achievements and legacy of one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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