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Remembering social reformer Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton
A MONUMENT to a long-forgotten but important campaigner could be erected on a prominent site in Weymouth.
Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton was an MP for the town almost 200 years ago and a social reformer who worked for the abolition of the slave trade as well as changes in prisons and the law.
He used to live in Belfield House just off Buxton Road, which is named after him.
Many people see Sir Thomas every day without knowing who he is – he is pictured on a £5 note next to his sister-in-law, the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry.
Now a project in Weymouth aims to ensure he is remembered by more than just a road name.
It is hoped the monument, to be designed and carved by Weymouth College masonry students, can be in place by 2012.
Sites under discussion include the Manor Roundabout on Dorchester Road or Hope Square.
Joyce Fannon of Buckland Ripers has spent the last couple of years researching and raising awareness of Sir Thomas through her talks to groups.
This led to the formation of the Thomas Fowell Buxton Society, of which the Mayor of Weymouth and Portland Paul Kimber is Honorary President.
A draft constitution will be agreed at an inaugural meeting on Wednesday, February 16 in St Augustine’s Church Hall off Dorchester Road, Lodmoor, Weymouth at 2pm.
People will be encouraged to become members by paying £5.
Everyone is invited to the meeting where the monument proposal will be discussed.
Mrs Fannon, the former manager of the Life charity shop in Weymouth, said she first came to know Sir Thomas when she moved to Weymouth in 1986.
She said: “I fell in love with Belfield House and started reading up on it.
“Thomas Buxton became internationally famous but it seemed to me that Weymouth had forgotten him.
“He came into my mind again in 2007 when there were events to mark 200 years since the abolition of the slave trade and I thought I would try and raise his profile locally.
“One thing led to another and now we are at the stage where we are proposing to erect a monument in the Olympic year.
“His motto was ‘Whatever thy hand findeth do, do it with thy might’ and I think that’s so appropriate for the Olympic competitors.”
For more information visit: thomasfowellbuxton.org.uk/society.html