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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 11:49 GMT
Developer to fund Best memorial
george best
A statue of George Best will be located at the City Hall
A statue to Northern Ireland soccer legend George Best is to be funded by a Belfast developer.

Doug Elliot is to fund and manage the memorial which will be located temporarily at city hall before finding a permanent home in the city centre.

Best died in November 2005 from multiple organ failure following a well-documented battle with alcoholism.

The George Best Memorial Trust, set up under a year ago, has now been formally wound up.

Mr Elliott said he was delighted to be given the opportunity to deliver the project.

He said: "It will not be a bronze statue. It will be a much more symbolic - a fantastic piece of creative art for Belfast.

"We know what our objectives are and the sculptors will have to work very hard to keep up with us."

The Best family welcomed the involvement of Mr Elliott, who is one of the lead developers at the Gasworks project at lower Ormeau Road.

George Best left the game he loved aged just 26
George Best left the game he loved aged just 26
Best's father, Dickie, said he was aware of the difficulties in raising sufficient funds for the statue.

"While I am disappointed we couldn't fulfil our preferred option to raise all of the money by public subscription, I am absolutely delighted that Doug has come forward in this way," he said.

"Myself and my family have always been truly proud of George and his achievements and we are pleased he is now to be recognised in this way."

George Best Memorial Trust chairman Tom McGrath said the statue would be a "fitting tribute to one of the world's greatest footballers and Northern Ireland's greatest sporting hero".

Artists are expected to be announced within the next two months, but it could be up to two years before the memorial is in place.

Staff from Belfast City Council who assisted the trust will continue to assist Mr Elliott in the implementation of the project.

The location of the statue is to be decided as part of the Department for Social Development's plans for around the city centre, which is expected to start in 2010.

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