May 8, 2005
Statue honouring Highbridge war hero Frank Foley unveiled
ABOVE: Frank Foley’s nephew Bill Kelley (left) flew over from Illinois in the USA for the occasion. Here he is talking about the statue to Stone Carver Jonathan Sells who was commisioned to carve the statue.
A statue honouring Frank Foley, the Highbridge war hero who saved the lives of thousands of Jews, was unveiled on Sunday May 8th.
The Highbridge-born hero (pictured right) helped Jews escape from Germany before the start of World War II by giving them visas to flee the country.
In order to mark the 47th anniversary of his death, the occasion was marked with many events, including the unveiling of an eight-foot tall statue outside Highbridge Community Hall in Market Street.
The unveiling came after members of the Frank Foley Fair Committee raised £25,000 over five years to fund the construction of the statue.
The statue was carved out of from Portland stone by Jonathan Sells and shows Mr Foley signing a visa for a Jewish man, with local buildings such as Highbridge’s clock, the bridge and the old town hall alongside him. Click here to see a large image of the Frank Foley statue.
Two days of events to honour Mr Foley were held during the weekend, including on Saturday May 7th a special ‘Frank Foley Dance’ where guests were able to join The Highbridge War Memorial Trust at their annual fund raising event in The Community Centre, Market Street.
On Sunday, the Frank Foley Day Celebrations began with an Ecumenical Service at St. John the Evangelist Church honouring the life and work of Major Foley. This was followed by a fete in Southwell Gardens and the unveiling of the Statue at 3.00pm on the Town Green.
In 2004, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw praised Frank Foley’s heroism during a seperate commemorative event in Berlin.
He said: “Frank Foley risked his life to save the lives of thousands of German Jews. Without the protection of diplomatic immunity he visited internment camps and sheltered Jewish refugees in his house. Frank Foley was a true British hero.”
The banquet before the unveiling of the Frank Foley statue, held in Highbridge Community Hall for around 140 guests. (Photos: Mike Lang)
Large image of the Frank Foley statue
Official documents relating to the work of Frank Foley