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Suffolk sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn is ‘very pleased’ with piece on late entertainer Roy Hudd destined for Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds





A statue of the late entertainer Roy Hudd OBE by a renowned Suffolk sculptor is in its final stages of completion – and people have the ‘rare’ chance of seeing the finished life-sized model.

Last year, Roy’s widow Debbie Hudd, from near Stowmarket, launched a campaign to raise £100,000 to get a statue of him installed outside the Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds – a venue he ‘loved’ and had performed at.

Not only is the campaign edging closer to its target, but the statue by celebrated sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn, from near Wattisham, is nearing completion.

Debbie Hudd and sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn with the miniature version (maquette) of the statue Sean is making of Roy Hudd. Picture: Mark Westley
Debbie Hudd and sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn with the miniature version (maquette) of the statue Sean is making of Roy Hudd. Picture: Mark Westley

Members of the public have the opportunity to see the life-sized clay model of the piece at a special evening, taking place over three nights next week, hosted by Sean and Debbie at his studio.

The fund-raising event, which will hear anecdotes from Sean’s varied career as well as Debbie talking about Roy, will also include a raffle with the chance to win a miniature version of the sculpture called a ‘maquette’.

Debbie hopes the finished statue of Roy can be unveiled at the Regency-era theatre in September, depending on permissions – the month of her and Roy’s wedding anniversary.

The late Roy Hudd and his wife Debbie, who launched a fund-raising appeal for a statue of her husband outside the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds
The late Roy Hudd and his wife Debbie, who launched a fund-raising appeal for a statue of her husband outside the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds

Speaking to the Bury Free Press on Roy’s birthday on May 16, she said the response to the statue appeal had been ‘amazing’.

“The fact everybody has been going through hard times and the fact we have raised just over £60,000 so far – it just shows from the public their love of Roy which is lovely,” she said.

The sculpture will depict Roy holding a ‘News Huddlines’ script and pointing to whoever is next to him while sitting on an oak bench, with the idea being people can sit and have their photo taken with him, similar to Sean’s Captain Mainwaring statue in Thetford.

Debbie added: “Roy always used to do that: if someone wanted to have a photograph he would put his left arm around their shoulders and his right hand would be pointing at them.”

Sean said he was ‘very pleased’ with the piece, and explained the clay model will be cast in bronze at the foundry – a process which will take around three months. The unveiling of the finished clay will be the highlight of the evenings next week.

Sean said: “At the end of the night they will get the chance to see the final clay version of Roy Hudd [statue] which will be a rarity as no-one will see it again until it’s actually in bronze. I’m very much looking forward to it.”

Entertainer Roy Hudd and sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn when they met in Rochdale at the unveiling of Sean's Gracie Fields statue. Picture: Sean Hedges-Quinn
Entertainer Roy Hudd and sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn when they met in Rochdale at the unveiling of Sean's Gracie Fields statue. Picture: Sean Hedges-Quinn

The evenings, on May 30 and 31 and June 1 at 7pm, are set to be ‘fascinating, informative and funny’.

They will feature stories from Sean’s work on pieces including Roy Hudd, Sir Alfred Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson and his career in films, such as Harry Potter and James Bond.

With a capacity of about 60 people each night, Debbie said the event would be quite ‘intimate’, adding it was for ‘people who loved Roy and his work and would like to be involved in some way’.

“Not only are people supporting the appeal, but we make sure they have a blooming good time as well. We hope everybody leaves whatever event we are doing with a smile on their face,” she said.

Roy, who died in March 2020, had a successful career spanning more than 60 years, as a comedian, actor, radio broadcaster, presenter, author and authority on music hall.

He is well-known for his BBC Radio 2 series The News Huddlines and in Coronation Street for his role as undertaker Archie Shuttleworth.

Roy Hudd as Tom Oakley in Goodnight Mister Tom at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds in 2018
Roy Hudd as Tom Oakley in Goodnight Mister Tom at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds in 2018

Tickets for the evenings with Sean and Debbie cost £12.50. Email Debbie: debbie@royhudd.com

It is a cash raffle, with a range of prizes connected to Roy. The address is Old Astra Cinema, The Street, Great Bricett, IP7 7DN.

Also in aid of the statue appeal, there will be an evening of variety entertainment called HOORAY FOR HUDD staring the likes of Darren Day and Jimmy Cricket at the Westcliff Theatre, in Clacton, on Sunday, June 2, at 7pm. The evening will celebrate the ‘one and only’ Roy Hudd.