Page last updated at 09:30 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 10:30 UK

War hero sculpture model unveiled

Artist's impression of the model of Sir Keith Park

Campaigners who want to honour a Battle of Britain hero with a statue in Trafalgar Square are unveiling a scale model of the bronze sculpture.

New Zealander Sir Keith Park commanded RAF squadrons which defended London and the South East during the 1940 Luftwaffe attacks in the World War II.

His supporters want a statue of him on the Square's famous fourth plinth.

The model, which is a scaled down version of the sculpture, shows Sir Keith in a RAF pilot's uniform.

The model is being unveiled at the RAF club in Piccadilly, central London.

At least 2,000 people have signed an online petition since the campaign was launched last month.

Reg Lewis, who was personal staff officer to Sir Keith in south-east Asia, said: "I worked closely with Sir Keith Park. He was a very inspirational man.

"I think the [model] captures his spirit perfectly and shows what a tremendously upright man he was, standing up for our country against the enemy."

Thomas Schutte's Model for a Hotel 2007 in Trafalgar Square
Thomas Schutte's Model for a Hotel 2007 was installed last November

London mayoral candidates Boris Johnson and Brian Paddick, and political figures such as Tony Benn and Lord Tebbit, have pledged their support.

A cross-party Parliamentary motion has also received signatures of support from 36 MPs.

Earlier when the campaign was launched London Mayor Ken Livingstone had said he supported a memorial to Sir Keith but the plinth should continue to showcase modern art.

The fourth plinth was built in 1841 to hold a statue of William IV astride a horse, but remained empty due to insufficient funds.

It now hosts a rotating programme of contemporary art. Currently Thomas Schutte's Model for a Hotel 2007 is placed on the north-west corner spot.

Artists in race for the plinth
08 Jan 08 |  London

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