A RELIGIOUS leader who helped start a branch of Christianity is to be immortalised with a statue on a spot where he preached his first sermon in Wales.

Methodist founder John Wesley addressed up to 400 people on the Devauden village green in 1739 and 276 years later, he will be back there in bronze resin form.

Since 2011, Devauden’s Hood Memorial Hall committee have been raising funds for the project, and there is now £4,600 in the bank.

This has paid for the design of the bust, which is currently being worked on by Paul Ebrey, and a plinth.

A further £8,000 grant has been applied for, which will provide hardstanding and a 200-word solar powered interpretation panel about the great man.

Mr Ebrey, who worked in production design on TV shows like Doctor Who and created a helicopter crash scene for Casualty, researched Mr Wesley’s appearance using photos, the internet and previous sculptures.

He said: “I’ve been enjoying it and I’m looking forward to seeing it on the green.”

The placing of the statue hinges on planning permission.

If this is not secured, there is a possibility the statue could instead have a home in the hall, but committee chairman John Rowlands wants to avoid this.

He said: “It has been a long, hard journey and we are nearly there. To have the statue on the green to commemorate Mr Wesley is a piece of history.”

Half of the funds raised from May Bank Holiday Monday’s 10km run in the village will also go to the project, which has been backed by many other local benefactors.

The hall committee has received letters of support from MP David Davies, Monmouthshire council chief executive Paul Matthews and the Reverend Andrew Webster of Chepstow Methodist Church.