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Friday, 15 March, 2002, 15:14 GMT
Lennon watches over airport
Cherie Blair and Yoko Ono
Cherie Blair, who joined Ono, spoke of John's influence
A statue of John Lennon now overlooks the check-in hall at the airport that bears his name, after being unveiled by his widow Yoko Ono on Friday.

Ono was joined by the prime minister's wife Cherie Blair when she revealed the seven-foot bronze sculpture at John Lennon Airport, in the former Beatle's home city of Liverpool.

Yoko Ono with statue
Ono: "The world needs peace"
The statue stands on a walkway in a new 32.5m terminal in the airport, which was renamed last year.

The unveiling comes after the news that Ono has bought Lennon's childhood home and donated it to the National Trust.

The statue was created by sculptor Tom Murphy and shows Lennon in his trademark round glasses and a casual suit with greased-back hair.

Ono told the BBC: "It's not like an ordinary statue - it has the feeling of John on the move.

"What a beautiful idea."

Communication

Ono said the renaming of the airport would "promote the growth of international communication for Liverpool and for the world".

"Communication and exchanging will lead to understanding and understanding will create love and peace.

"And the world needs peace," she said.

Ono has already been presented with a miniature statue of Lennon
Ono has already been presented with a miniature statue
The airport's new logo is a sketch of Lennon's face, and its slogan is "Above us only sky", taken from his classic hit Imagine.

Asked whether the humanist sentiment might offend religious groups, Ono said that people of all religions should "hug each other".

"It is a time for all people of all religions to hug each other and if you are not religious then hug a tree or something, " she said.

Airport owners Peel Holdings said the change of name was a "fitting and lasting tribute" to the murdered star.

Memorial

Cherie Blair, who helped Ono unveil the statue, said that Lennon had been an influence during her "rebellious teenage years".

Another memorial to the murdered musician is in the pipeline after Ono bought the house where Lennon lived as a child.


I think Menlove Avenue has an important place in Beatles history

Yoko Ono
Ono is believed to have paid more than 150,000 for 251 Menlove Avenue, where Lennon lived with his Aunt Mimi.

The house had been on the market for months.

Lennon wrote the early Beatles hit Please Please Me at Menlove Avenue.

His teenage band, The Quarrymen, and then The Beatles, rehearsed there.

"I think Menlove Avenue has an important place in Beatles history, and it saddened me to think that it might be lost," Ono said.

"The fact that this is happening in the same week that Liverpool airport is officially opened as Liverpool John Lennon airport would have made my husband very happy."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"The management here are determined his name should never be forgotten"
See also:

14 Mar 02 | Showbiz
Yoko buys Lennon's childhood home
05 Mar 02 | Entertainment
Yoko brings peace message to UK
02 Jul 01 | Showbiz
Ono unveils 'Lennon airport'
20 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Lennon's piano to stay in Liverpool
18 Jan 02 | Music
Yoko Ono back in the charts
09 Dec 01 | Music
Fans gather for Lennon vigil
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