Wigan borough mural to honour Buzzcocks frontman Pete Shelley

An eagerly anticipated mural celebrating the life and legacy of Pete Shelley is set to be unveiled in the borough.

The giant artwork will hold prominence in the heart of Pete’s hometown in Leigh, neighbouring the new state-of-the-art archive facilities at the town hall and the historic Turnpike Centre.

Pete Shelley, who passed away in 2018 aged 63, was one of the most influential musicians in UK popular music.

He is best known for his work with punk iconoclasts Buzzcocks, Pete wrote a stream of classics in the late 1970s, including their biggest hit Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've), which reached number 12 in the UK chart in 1978.

Pete Shelley

He also pursued a successful solo career in the 1980s. His song Homosapien charted in the US in 1981.

The mural has been accomplished by over three years of fund-raising coordinated by The Pete Shelley Memorial Campaign.

Paul Lally from the campaign said: “The mural is a magnificent achievement made possible by the love and generosity of Pete’s fans, friends, and family”.

The movement has also benefited from a partnership with Wigan Council which helped to arrange a place for the mural.

Malcom Garrett at the Blue Plaque unveiling

This followed on from the group gaining council support in honouring Pete with a blue plaque in December 2020 at the house where he grew up in Landside, Leigh.

The piece has been created by a collaboration between graphic art pioneer and Pete’s close friend Malcolm Garrett MBE, and the highly acclaimed street artist Akse P19.

Akse P19 has produced some of the best loved murals in the country, including tributes to Ian Curtis and Marcus Rashford.

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Mr Garrett’s design combines a seminal image of Pete from the 1970s and graphic art taken from Buzzcocks most successful song.

In a social media post, he said: "Thanks to Paul and Paul and every supporter at the Pete Shelley Memorial Campaign for making this happen. Incredible support from Neil at Wigan Council, and of course the amazing Akse P19 for painting what he tells me will be his largest wall to date. Pete truly deserves this celebration."

Howard Lycett, and Rebecca Hamilton, cousins of Pete Shelley and both still living locally to Leigh, said: "As a family we are delighted to have Pete back in his hometown and looking as vibrant as he ever was.

“Pete was always incredibly proud of his northern roots, and we hope that the mural will help Pete’s legacy live on and inspire more young artists and musicians to break down barriers and follow their dreams.

“We’d like to say an enormous thank you to all Pete’s friends and fans who have made this possible - with particular thanks to Paul Lally and Paul Banks who have worked tirelessly to make this vision a reality".

The unveiling celebrations will start at 12pm on Sunday July 10 with speeches led by Malcolm Garrett and special guests in front of the mural.

A free post-unveiling show will take place upstairs in The Turnpike Centre from 1pm led by Buzzcocks tribute band BUZZKOCKS, and Leigh punk luminaries STATIC LINE.