PLANS have been lodged to install a lifesize bronze soldier statue in front of the Southend Cenotaph.

Southend Council has submitted an application for the statue after hiring sculptor Dave Taylor to create it as part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary since the end of the First World War.

The 45-year-old, from Westcliff, also known as “Sculptureman”, was approached by the council in December last year.

The statue is 69 inches tall and was modelled on Ethan Harvey, from Norfolk, who dressed in First World War soldier gear.

Mr Taylor said: “The idea was to create a faithful replica of what a solider would look like on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

“I didn’t know a lot about First World War gear so sought advice from experts who were a massive help.

“I’ve had to keep this a secret for so long, I was sharing updates on the making of it but couldn’t tell anyone where it was being planned for.

“Now the application has been registered it’s in the public domain so people can finally hear about it. The majority of the reaction I’ve had has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The Cenotaph was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and installed in 1921. It became a Grade II* listed structure, when Lutyens’ memorials were recognised as a national collection.

The solider statue remains at the Morris Singer Foundry in Alton where it has just received its bronze casting.

The application has been registered by the council and will be decided by the development committee at a later date.

Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism for the council, welcomed the plans, said: “Every year the town comes together on Remembrance Day for those who paid the price for our freedoms.

“On days throughout the year you’ll get many veterans and citizens casting an eye to it as they walk by. Anything that helps that and the memory of what these soldiers gave would not be a problem.

“Different generations pay their respects in different ways, this may be the way that the next generation pays their respect and remembers those who fell for us all.”