Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Saturday, 27 June 2009 12:16 UK

Statue honours composer Novello


Capt Sir Norman Lloyd-Edwards, president of the statue fund, said it was a "fitting memorial to a muscial master".

A statue of one of Wales' most celebrated musical sons has been unveiled in his home city.

The 7ft (2.1m) bronze sculpture of Ivor Novello was revealed during a ceremony outside the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff later.

It follows a public campaign to raise £80,000 to erect the statue in the city where Novello was born and raised.

Novello, a composer and film actor, became famous for songs including Keep The Home Fires Burning.

The unveiling ceremony started inside the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) in Cardiff Bay where a selection of Novello's music was performed.

The audience then moved outside and the statue, on a plinth decorated with some of the names of his songs, was unveiled.

Apart from a blue plaque on his former home in Cowbridge Road East, Canton, the statue is the only memorial in Wales to Novello, who died 58 years ago.

There hasn't been sufficient recognition and I don't think young people are aware of him being Welsh
Wyn Calvin, entertainer

"It has been far too long," said Captain Sir Norman Lloyd-Edwards, president of the Ivor Novello Statue Fund who was formerly Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan.

"At last Wales has a fitting memorial to a musical master who created a wonderful world of music and happiness that did his home city and country proud."

The idea for the memorial came from Cardiff businessman Hilary David, who started fundraising for a statue.

The Statue Fund charity was later set up by Sir Norman and the appeal committee and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Welsh opera start Dennis O'Neill backed the efforts as patrons.

Chairman of the fund, Derek Grattidge of Penarth, said: "The response has been magnificent, raising £80,000. It reflects the pride not just of Cardiff but of Wales in the outstanding achievements of Ivor Novello."

Cardiff council said it had also contributed £15,000 to the fund for the statue.

International acclaim

Novello was born David Ivor Davies in 1893, with his mother a singer and voice coach. He composed his first song as a teenager.

He later became a film idol in Britain and the USA during the 1930s.

He also wrote dramas and film scripts, but it was his songwriting and musical shows, including Glamorous Night, The Dancing Years and King's Rhapsody that won him international acclaim.

During World War I, Novello served as a pilot in the Royal Naval Air Service, surviving two crash landings.

Keep the Home Fires Buring, from 1914, is considered by some as one of the greatest war songs ever written.

Ivor Novello
Novello with his mother Dame Clara Novello Davies

His name is now synonymous with one of British music's top prizes, the Ivor Novello songwriting awards - also known as The Ivors - in which many modern artists compete for every year.

Comedian and entertainer Wyn Calvin, who has been part of the campaign for the statue, said he believed not enough had been done to celebrate Novello's Cardiff links.

"There hasn't been sufficient recognition and I don't think young people are aware of him being Welsh," he said.

"He was born in Cowbridge Road before the family moved to number 11 Cathedral Road, where the house was bigger to house all his mother's pianos. She was a musical teacher and taught the Welsh Ladies Choir.

"I met him once when I was a teenager. When he was told I was from Cardiff, well that was it... he was asking what part of Cardiff I was from. He was charming."

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