A DESCENDANT of an anti-slavery campaigner and former Weymouth MP is encouraged by progress to build a monument in his ancestor’s honour.
James Buxton is the great, great great grandson of social crusader Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton.
Sir Thomas (1786-1845) had an interest in education of the poor and prison reform and spearheaded legislation to abolish slavery throughout the British Empire.
Although a main road in Weymouth, Buxton Road, is named after him, people in the modern age believe he should be remembered locally with a permanent memorial.
Mr Buxton says work to do this is forging ahead with a vision to site it on the publicly-owned green at the end of Bincleaves Road. A fundraising campaign is underway with a musical event coming up to support the cause.
An earlier plan to site the monument at Manor roundabout on Dorchester Road was scrapped due to costs involved.
A competition to design the monument was won by former Weymouth College stonemasonry student Peter Loizou and other students will be involved in carving it.
As a surviving ancestor of Sir Thomas, Mr Buxton was invited to be chairman of the Thomas Fowell Buxton Society, which was formed in 2010 by John and Joyce Fannon of Buckland Ripers.
Retired law firm partner Mr Buxton, 66, who lives near Yeovil, said: “The objectives of the society are to erect a monument to celebrate the achievements of Thomas Fowell Buxton and to increase awareness of slavery in its modern form.
“We need £25,000 to get the monument built and £7,000 to £8,000 has been raised already so we’re off to a good start.
“A lot of people in the family have contributed.”
He added: “We need the money to pay for the building costs principally plus some for ongoing maintenance and insurance.
“The Manor roundabout site was going to be expensive and we didn’t think people would see it as well.
“Everyone seems happy about the Bincleaves site. There has to be a new planning application with the borough council.”
Mr Buxton said a statue of Sir Thomas could be seen at Westminster Abbey but there is nothing in Weymouth.
He said family members, many of whom live in East Anglia, were ‘100 per cent’ behind the idea.