Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Thursday, 5 February 2009

Tony Hart memorial is considered

Tony Hart
Tony Hart presented shows included Take Hart and Hartbeat

A possible memorial plaque to television artist Tony Hart could be mounted in the Kent town where the presenter was born and studied.

Hart, 83, who died in Surrey in January, was born in Maidstone in 1925 and studied at the town's art college.

Fans have started a Facebook campaign to get a statue of him or the character Morph erected in the town.

Maidstone Borough Council said it was considering what kind of memorial would be most appropriate.

A spokesman for council added: "The council has no plans to commission a statue of Tony Hart or Morph.

"It would only consider this if it was fully funded from public subscription and there was strong demand for it from Maidstone residents.

There are artists and designers all over the world who were inspired by Tony Hart and he was born here in Maidstone
Paul Hardy

"We are considering whether it would be appropriate to provide a tribute, such as a plaque, within the Hazlitt Arts Centre."

More than 4,500 people have joined the campaign on social network website Facebook to get a statue erected in Maidstone.

Paul Hardy, who set up the group, said: "We're not asking a lot from the council. We're asking for a few thousand [pounds] to a erect a memorial to one of the sons of Maidstone.

"I understand that we are in the credit crunch and recession and they [the council] have to save money but I think Tony Hart deserves more than that."

He added: "He gave decades of his life to inspiring children to take up art. There are artists and designers all over the world who were inspired by Tony Hart and he was born here in Maidstone.

"I think he deserves more than a plaque."

A funeral for the presenter of Vision On, Take Hart and Hartbeat took place in the village of Shamley Green, Surrey, last week.

Hart served as an officer in the 1st Gurkha Rifles in World War II, before joining a course at Maidstone College of Art.

He entered television in 1952 after he had a chance meeting with a BBC TV producer and a demonstrated his quick art skills.

Hart had suffered from health problems for a number of years, including two strokes.

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