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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 April, 2003, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Statue to football legend unveiled
Jim Baxter:
Jim Baxter: Football legend
Chancellor Gordon Brown and a host of sporting stars have gathered in Fife to unveil a statue commemorating Scottish football legend Jim Baxter.

The specially-commissioned life-sized statue and memorial garden to the former Raith Rovers and Rangers player was unveiled in his hometown of Hill o' Beath.

Baxter died at his home in Glasgow on 14 April, 2001, after being diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of February.

The 80,000 cost of the statue was raised by a series of fundraising events.

Budget briefcase

A special dinner attended the chancellor, a long-time Baxter fanatic, and a galaxy of stars from the world of football raised much of the funds needed to complete the bronze statue.

The chancellor even donated a replica of his budget briefcase for the auction that raised over 10,000 alone.

The statue was created by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott.

It is set in an ornate garden and will be floodlit.

I suppose he will always be remembered for the game against England in 1967 when he played keepy-uppy with the ball.
Denis Law

Hundreds of football fans gathered in Baxter's home village for the ceremony, which was also attended by Rangers legends John Greig, Sandy Jardine and Ralph Brand.

Mr Brown, whose Dunfermline East constituency includes the tiny mining village, said he had in his youth idolised Mr Baxter, known as "Slim Jim", when he played for Raith Rovers.

Standing on the windswept steps of the village's ex-servicemen's' club, he said: "With this statue which is being unveiled today, two years after Jim died, we're saying to each other that even as the times roll by, Jim Baxter will never be forgotten."

He called Baxter a "local hero and a footballing genius" and added: "This is a man who was an inspiration to us all."

Fitting tribute

Baxter's son Alan, 37, was accompanied at the ceremony by his 34-year-old brother Steven and their grandmother Agnes, 88.

He said: "We're very proud. My gran has lived here all her life and it's particularly special for her."

Former Rangers star Sandy Jardine added his voice to the tributes, saying: "I think it's a fitting tribute to Jim.

"He was a very down-to-earth man and I think he would have found it funny that so many people are here to unveil a statue to honour him."

In his playing career Jim Baxter won 34 caps for Scotland. He played for Raith Rovers, Rangers, Sunderland and Nottingham Forest before returning to Rangers.

He played 254 games for the Ibrox club and scored 24 goals.

He retired at the early age of 30.




SEE ALSO:
Final farewells to legend Baxter
20 Apr 01  |  Scotland
Baxter: a God-given genius
15 Apr 01  |  Scotland
Baxter: simply sensational
18 Apr 01  |  Scotland


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