Melbourn historian’s campaign for permanent Pink Floyd tribute is set for success

Historian Fonz Chamberlain with artist Pippa Westoby, who has designed a potential plaque

Historian Fonz Chamberlain with artist Pippa Westoby, who has designed a potential plaque - Credit: Archant

An historian from Melbourn who has been campaigning tirelessly for a permanent memorial to the founding member of Pink Floyd is on the brink of success.

The design by artist Pippa Westoby

The design by artist Pippa Westoby - Credit: Archant

Fonz Chamberlain, who lives in Hinkins Close, started a petition two years ago to have a plaque put up in Cambridge city centre in memory of Syd Barrett.

The petition amassed more than 2,000 signatures and last week Cambridge City Council announced £10,000 has been earmarked for “a public art commission to commemorate the life of Syd Barrett”.

The grant is one of 15 projects shortlisted from funding bids made by groups and residents wanting to improve open spaces and to celebrate the identity of local communities across Cambridge. The projects are set to be approved today and will be paid for using developers’ contributions.

Syd was born in Glisson Road in Cambridge and performed his final gig in the Corn Exchange. He died in 2006.

Fonz said Liverpool aptly remembers The Beatles, but in Cambridge there is only one bench in tribute to Pink Floyd – in gardens you have to pay to enter.

He said: “I’ve campaigned for two years for a memorial for Syd Barrett, and for two years I’ve hit a brick wall. I was told he hadn’t been dead long enough.

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“I started off as just one man trying to get a point across, but so many people have said they want it to happen that the council has had to listen.”

Cultural charity Cambridge Live submitted an application to the city council for “a £10,000 grant to commission a publicly-accessible artwork (eg: painting, sculpture, installation) to provide a lasting legacy to Syd Barrett”.

If the project is given the green light today, a competition to design the artwork will be opened to local artists.

Fonz said: “I knew I would never be the person to pick the design, I’m just pleased my campaign has led to this and the council has listened to what the people want.”

Councillor Carina O’Reilly, for city centre and public places, said: “It is fantastic we can invest S106 money from new developments in improved local facilities and in helping both new and existing residents to appreciate and enjoy what makes Cambridge special.”