Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Statue tribute to Saints rugby captain

St Helens rugby league captain Keiron Cunningham (Pic: St Helens council)
Keiron Cunningham's statue will stand temporarily on Chalon Way

A statue of St Helens rugby league captain Keiron Cunningham is to be officially unveiled later as a tribute to the success of the Saints club.

Three years ago the council asked for people to vote for their favourite six Saints' players and Keiron polled the most with 10,138 votes.

Vanessa Marston's artwork of the player will be unveiled on Chalon Way.

When the rugby club's new stadium is built in 2011 that statue will be moved there.

The St Helens veteran recently marked his 500th game with a try during the club's 22-16 win over Wakefield.

He has confirmed that 2010 will be his farewell season. The 33-year-old former Great Britain hooker has twice postponed his retirement in the last two years by signing new 12-month contracts.

In the council's poll he pipped Tom van Vollenhoven, who received 8820 votes, former Man of Steel Paul Wellens with 1501, Alex Murphy on 1284, Alf Ellaby on 249 and Vinty Karalius on 203.

Keiron Cunningham
Cunningham has 14 Great Britain caps

The original announcement that the council would be honouring the club was made at a town hall civic reception to celebrate the team's Wembley Victory in the Challenge Cup over Catalan Dragons in August 2007.

Council leader, Brian Spencer said: "The club have been marvellous ambassadors for our borough and we thought it was time we chose to honour the club for their sporting and community achievements over their long and prestigious history."

Eamonn McManus, Saints chairman, said: "It is right and fitting that the fans and people of St Helens have chosen Kieron Cunningham to be their club's and the town's permanent symbol of sporting achievement."

In 2001 the council awarded the club Freedom of the Borough status following its record breaking sporting achievements.



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SEE ALSO
Cunningham hopes to end on a high
26 Jan 10 |  St Helens
Veteran Cunningham's final dream
10 Oct 09 |  Wales

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