Statue bid for punk rock legend Pete

Coun Maiden outside the Boulevard
Coun Maiden outside the Boulevard

A councillor is petitioning for a statue of a borough-born punk legend following his sudden death.

Coun Paul Maiden, who also works as a music promoter, has gathered hundreds of signatures backing a bid to have a memorial statue of the Buzzcocks lead singer Pete Shelley erected in the musician’s hometown of Leigh.

The Hindley Green independent has also announced a fund-raising gig to generate the money for the statue.

“We really don’t seem to recognise anyone who does anything of note in the borough,” he said. “Shelley completed innovated punk music. He added melodies into it, he made the whole genre more melodic. Buzzcocks even shifted more albums than the Sex Pistols. I think it’s time that we thought about celebrating someone who has done something incredible in Leigh.”

Shelley, lead singer and guitarist in the revered band died, from a heart attack at his home in Estonia aged just 63 on December 6.

Born in Milton Street, Shelley founded the iconic band at Bolton Tech. They also played one of punk’s most famous gigs with The Sex Pistols at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in 1976 and released four albums before splitting in 1981.

Shelley’s death sparked a flood of tributes from some of top music industry names such as Tim Burgess from The Charlatans and Liam Fray, lead singer of The Courteeners.

Fellow music fanatic and Leigh resident Paul Lally is backing the appeal, saying that it is “about time” Leythers celebrated the punk legend. The 52-year-old, who grew up listening to the Buzzcocks, says that it is the least Shelley deserves for inspiring generations of musicians.

“I’m quite baffled that we haven’t already had one,” he said. “He really is quite important and influential to a lot of people. When I was a teenager and I was getting involved in listening to music, what made them poignant to me is that he came from Leigh.

“My son is in a band, The Lottery Winners, they are doing really well they have been signed to Warner Bros records and I know they also quote him as a big influence on them. He’s not just an influence to my generation.

“I’m disappointed that nothing has been done before now. Timperley is a much smaller town than ours and they have a statue of Frank Sidebottom.

Mr Lally has contacted Greater Manchester Mayor and former Leigh MP Andy Burnham for campaign advice and has received full backing for the statue from Shelley’s family.

Coun Maiden’s fund-raiser is at The Boulevard in Wigan on January 19. The full lineup is yet to be announced. Tickets cost £5.