DOUBLE TAKE Dame Kelly will unveil her statue on October 10

A STATUE of Dame Kelly Holmes will adorn a new garden at the bottom of Quarry Hill in Tonbridge.
The sculpture of the double Olympic gold medallist has been created and donated by Tunbridge Wells artist Guy Portelli. It will be situated outside St Stephens Church.
Dame Kelly, who grew up in Hildenborough and owns the Café 1809 in the village, will attend the unveiling of the statue on Tuesday October 10 at 2.30pm.
It will be mounted on a plinth incorporating the artwork of children from three local primary schools, The Slade, Woodlands and Sussex Road Community School.
The statue is the centre piece of the ‘Olympic-themed’ welcome, and will be surrounded by a wildflower meadow and three small trees, which will be black, white and gold – reflecting the title of Dame Kelly’s autobiography.
Mr Portelli says: “It’s always a pleasure to work with young people on a new art project but the enthusiasm and excellent designs of the children taking part in this particular scheme have made it one of the best yet.
“I just hope Dame Kelly Holmes will be pleased with the statue I have created!”
The landscaping and planting will be carried out by Tonbridge business Mary Mary Creates Gardens free of charge.
The £7,500 cost of the work is paid for by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s Local Centres’ Project, which works with traders across the borough to deliver environmental projects. The funding was provided by the Government’s High Street Innovation Fund.
Nicolas Heslop, Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, says: “It’s great to see local traders working together to improve an area for the benefit of local people.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to Guy Portelli for creating the statue of Dame Kelly and for his work to inspire local children to take part in the project with their artwork.”
He added: “Many thanks also to Mary Mary Creates Gardens and all the other traders for volunteering their time and expertise to make the scheme a reality.”