A STATUE of the Queen created by an Essex sculptor was unveiled during a royal visit to officially open Southend’s new library The Duke of Kent yesterday toured the Forum library before unveiling John Doubleday’s clay and bronze sculpture of the Queen.

Crowds gathered in Elmer Square where the duke revealed the sculpture commissioned to mark the Queen’s Jubilee and in time for her 90th birthday.

The £18,665 statue, on a wall in the lobby of the Forum, was paid for by public subscription. The contributions included £4,685 from Southend Council and £2,200 from The University of Essex who were partners in the construction of the Forum.

Southend Council leader, Ron Woodley said: “We were thrilled to welcome HRH The Duke of Kent today to officially open the Forum Southend and unveil the statue of the Queen.

“We are very proud indeed of the Forum because it is such an exceptionally successful and unique partnership project.”

Among figurative sculptor John Doubleday’s many other works are statues of HRH Prince Phillip, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Brunel at Paddington Station, Charlie Chaplin in Leicester Square, as well as portraits and paintings.

Mr Doubleday, said: “It took six or seven months to do. I was pleased with the outcome. What I was after was something like an informal presence of her dropping in on the forum.

“It was made in clay and then casted in bronze. I was really pleased to see it up on the building wall. It was a really good day.

“Every job I do I make the best possible job I can of it.

Mr Doubleday added: “I wasn’t nervous about it being unveiled with the Duke, he was chatting to me about other Royal portraits I had done.

“The sculpture is based on her personality. I have spent some time with the queen in connection with other work and the portrait piggy backs off another one I have done of her.“ Angela O’Donoghue, principal and chief executive of the South Essex College, Angela O’Donoghue CBE, said: “Today’s Royal event has been fantastic for the town. The Forum is an excellent addition to our Campus and our higher education students who study at the College’s University Centre Southend love the space.”

The duke of Kent also officially opened up the Bradbury Centre in York Road, Southend run by homeless charity Harp Opening the centre, the Duke of Kent made a speech congratulating the workers on their services.

He said: “I’m very impressed by the place and what you have done. It’s been a remarkable transformation and you’ve put in a lot of hard work. It’s such an important service you are providing here and the need for the service is not getting less. I congratulate you.”