UPDATED: Frost/Nixon star Michael Sheen to help found Chartist trust in Newport
ACTOR Michael Sheen will help found a trust to raise money for a new Chartist memorial.
Newport-born Mr Sheen agreed to be a founder trustee of the independent trust following a meeting with Newport council leader Bob Bright.
The council also agreed to pay £50,000 towards the new commemoration.
It is hoped the trust will help raise money both in Wales and internationally to help fund piece which will replace the memorial torn down by the council.
A consultation with people from Newport will decide what form the replacement commemoration will take, including ideas already submitted. It is then likely a ballot will be held to pick from the most popular options with potentially further consultation.
The council will help create a 175th anniversary committee which will comprise of groups interested in organising events and activities to celebrate Chartism.
Mr Sheen will support the committee as an advisor and will take part in celebrations during the 175th year when he is able to.
Mr Sheen said: "It seems like there’s already a lot of exciting ideas for what could be done to celebrate the Chartists and Newport's heritage, as well as opportunity to be inspired by their vision in addressing the challenges of the present.
"In spite of a very regrettable handling of the situation in the first place, it seems like something truly positive and, in the spirit of Chartism, truly representative, is now being made possible."
Cllr Bright said: “The council has accepted that the difficult decision on the mural could have been better handled, but we want to move forward and we are very grateful to Michael for giving up so much time to sharing his thoughts and offering his help.
“We’re eager to make 2014 a year in which Chartism is celebrated in diverse and imaginative ways that give their ideas a contemporary relevance. At the same time, with Michael’s help, we are confident an appeal to raise funds for a permanent memorial will be successful and will generate renewed interest in Newport as the city that gave birth to Chartism.”
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