A progress report on the creation of a memorial statue in Wiveliscombe to the late great Keith Floyd

....and the mission of a small group to raise the money, in private donations, to make it possible.
Follow the blog posts below to track our progress and take a look at the Proposal for more information about the Keith Floyd Memorial Project and how you could help.

And finally

After 4 years of effort to raise funds for a life sized bronze and marble statue, The Keith Floyd Memorial Project has opted for Plan B.
On Wednesday 11th December 2013 a commemorative portrait plaque depicting K F was installed at a site in the centre of Wiveliscombe, Somerset, near to the house where he lived with his family. This does not mean the Project has closed down, only that we will be biding our time and perhaps considering another strategy. It is possible that the new plaque will revive interest or that another opportunity/idea to raise funds will present itself.

The finished plaque and legend installed

It has been a bumpy ride and somewhat disappointing in that so few of Keith’s friends and colleagues found themselves able to contribute to the fund. Having said that, we are exceptionally grateful to those who did donate and support us throughout. In particular we have to thank Phil Vickery, BlancRestaurants ( Le Manoir), Langan's Brasserie and J.E.Fox, who’s contributions made the plaque possible. The encouragement of Wellington School has also been greatly appreciated even though they were unable to donate due to their charitable status.

The site at the top of Silver Street- Wiveliscombe town centre

Meeting Keith’s friends and relations has been a great pleasure and following his trail has been an extraordinary journey. Thankfully we now have a permanent reminder of this charismatic and influential character.
Sculptor John Alder with the plaque.

Please leave your comments about the Project for us. They will not necessarily be posted!!

Editions of the maquette will still be available and editions of the new plaque also – contact ja@kfmproject.org.uk for more info.

Portrait of a Birthday Boy

Last year we realised that we were unlikely to reach our target funding anytime soon and offered donors to the KFMP the opportunity to have their donations returned or to allow us to use the money to pay for a portrait plaque to be mounted outside the house where the Floyds lived in Wiveliscombe. This could encourage renewed interest in the project through publicity or, failing that, would be a fitting memorial to Keith and an accountable use of the money so far raised.
Unfortunately, some donors, two of whom regarded themselves close friends of Keith, asked for their money to be returned. However, we are not discouraged and after many months working on another project, progress has been made and the portrait plaque created.

The completed plaque

The site we had in mind – 16 Silver Street – is no longer available for the plaque as the owners of the property have reviewed their acceptance and declined the idea but another site has been found and agreed. This is at the top of the same street, near the town centre and, being on a through route, will be obvious to more passers-by or visitors than the original choice. The legend beneath the plaque will read:-

“ During his schooldays Keith lived with his family in
   Silver Street–a time he remembered with fondness”

X marks the spot for the plaque site at the top of Silver Street.

No date has yet been fixed for the mounting of the plaque but it is likely to be during the week beginning 9th December 2013.This will happily coincide with what would have been Keith’s 70th birthday on the 28th December. There is no intention to have a ‘grand unveiling’ because we feel that we are in a compromise position compared with the erection of a life-size bronze statue but we will ensure full publicity coverage once the work is complete. Watch this space.

Good & Bad

On 21st May four of us took a trip to Lyme Regis. There is a very special restaurant there with great views out to the Cobb and the sea. Its specialness does not only lie in the fact that it is owned by Mark Hix, the renowned sea food chef, but also because it is the eatery where Keith
Floyd ate his last meal. He died of a heart attack after lunching there on 14th September 2009!
I sincerely hope he enjoyed his meal more than I did.

View from Hix Oyser and Fish House

A much more pleasant experience occurred on 4th June when I handed over a maquette of KF to his sister Brenda and her husband Edward. A  delightful, amiable couple who had driven from Oxfordshire to collect the work and to visit some of Brenda’s old haunts in Wivey. I think we could have spent days listening to tales of escapades of the Floyds. I am happy to say that she was pleased with the little chap (maquette) and I understand that when they got home she placed him in front of the television for preferable viewing.

Brenda with the little chap

Keith and Brenda 1953

              A celebrity in the making....
              the hand on hip pose,
              the sartorial elegance.

As the present economic climate seems to have slowed the flow of donations to KFMP, the committee has decided that it would be a good idea to have a bas relief portrait plaque made using the money so far raised. This will ensure that our efforts have not been wasted and that Keith will be honoured in the town, come what may. The KFMP, however, will continue with its mission to raise more funds for the eventual realization of the life-size statue

Moving On

Interest in the Project was extremely slow, as expected, over the festive season and the threat of a double dip recession seems to have lengthened pockets but shortened arms. We have been attempting to get the attention of Rick Stein for some time – he being a close friend of Keith while making TV programmes – but as yet have had no personal response. It would appear that celebrities are very well insulated from us mortals by their P.A.s. The teams behind Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal have both offered items for sale at auction - perhaps we should have an auction.

Holiday job in Wiveliscombe

However, I am very pleased to say that we are now in contact with Keith Floyd’s sister, Brenda Harding, his brother-in-law Edward and nephew Matthew and they promise to be a fund of new information as well as bringing genuine energetic support for the KFMP. Interestingly, it transpires that Brenda worked with the crone of the kitchen Fanny Craddock and that Matthew, Brenda’s son, is reputed to be a fine cook. Genes at work perhaps? Edward has kindly sent me some previously unpublished photographs of Keith - two of which I include, with his permission, in this post – and as Keith was not a hoarder of memorabilia himself, these pictures add substance to the stories in his first autobiography ‘Out Of The Frying Pan’.

North Sea crossing

Other news.    

                          Langan’s restaurants have jumped on board and made a donation.

The first maquette has been sold, which is encouraging, adding a reasonable sum to the Project fund.

Of Plaques and Places

The plaque (green, not blue) ceremony in Bristol on the 23rd October went ahead in the rain without mishap. Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society had arranged for Floyd’s commemorative plaque to be placed outside the Clifton Kitchen even though the usual requirement for the honour would be age in excess of 100 years.
Barry Paine, well known broadcaster, writer and producer of wildlife programmes and Richard Hope-Hawkins, acclaimed broadcaster, writer, photographer, arts correspondent and food critic, who unveiled the plaque, were just two of Keith Floyd’s old acquaintances who gathered at the Avon Gorge Hotel afterwards for reminiscences and wine. Unfortunately no chefs turned up as they were all otherwise engaged.

On the previous weekend five of us paid a visit to the foodie town of Dartmouth in Devon where the renowned chef Mitch Tonks has two of his restaurants – The Seahorse and The RockFish Seafood and Chips. After a memorable meal we chatted to Mitch who seemed very supportive of the KFMP but I believe he thought the statue would be sited in the Embankment park in Dartmouth – perhaps we should relocate the project!!

The RockFish Seafood and Chips - Dartmouth.

The next day, a trip to the Maltsters Arms in Tuckenhay, just a few miles away on a tributary of the Dart. Once owned by Floyd this gastro pub was a little disappointing. An idyllic spot with river frontage in a village setting but I think Keith’s cooking, when he was in residence, would have been of a different class.

The Maltsters Arms - Tuckenhay

The search continues for supporters and donations.

Floyd's Bistro

We had an enjoyable evening on the 2nd September at the restaurant in Bristol which was the original Floyd's Bistro in Princess Victoria St. It is now called the Clifton Kitchen and is excellently run by Richard Marques-Jones. What was particularly special about the evening, apart from the good food, was that we were joined by two very personable, interesting and bright young people - Poppy and Patrick Floyd. They had a wealth of information and stories to tell, leaving us, I think, knowing KF much better. We left a copy of the maquette in the restaurant for anyone to see.

John Alder, Poppy Floyd, Ilana Alder and Patrick Floyd at Clifton Kitchen

A further development in the Keith Floyd story is that a blue plaque is to be attached to the outside of the Clifton Kitchen, on the 23rd October at 11.15 am. to commemorate his tenure. We hope it will be well attended.

A press release has been sent out to attract more interest in the project so we expect to be receiving phone calls and emails asking for more information.

More Support

Members of the Wellington School Alumni were approached individually via email and an announcement at their reunion lunch in London. The result was some positive response and additions to the funds. Keith was fondly remembered by a number of schoolmates. It is a great pleasure also to welcome Jean-Christophe Novelli, the excellent chef, friend of Keith and cooking academy proprietor, to our growing number of supporters from the celebrity community. Jean-Christophe's support is encouraging as is that of Phil Vickery who has again shown his commitment to the Project by attaching a very prominent link from his website  to our blog.

A silicone rubber mould has now been made from the original maquette, ready for reproduction. Briefly, the process involved covering the maquette with a 10mm layer of clay which was then encased in plaster of Paris in two halves. The clay was then removed from the plaster jacket and the resulting cavity was filled with liquid silicone rubber which flowed over the maquette to create the new flexible mould. A mould of this nature can be used many times over to reproduce an item.

We are ready now to put out a press release nationwide to raise awareness of the KFMP . We are a long way short of our target as yet but still optimistic of success.