John Thompson (Bendigo’s Brother)

John Thompson was born in 1809 and two years older than William. 

Whilst we don’t know much about him, we know he remained in Nottingham. He never married, nor did he have children that we know of. 

We do know that he was an optician with a premises on or near Glasshouse Street in Nottingham.

Bendigo seems to have had a good relationship with his brother. In his interview with James Greenwood in 1872 he said:

When my uncle died – an optician he was, and left us his stock-in-trade and his tools – I says to my brother, You take the lot, and allow mother six shillings a week on my account like, and so he did. And I used to buy the old lady her winter clothes, and he bought her her summer clothes, and so she did pretty well until she died at eighty-three.

Bendigo in 1872

John Thompson died in 1873 at the age of 64. He was buried in Nottingham’s Church (Rock) Cemetery, on his own in plot No 1292. 

The numbering of the plots at the cemetery is quite haphazard and some plots are not easy to find.

Church Cemetery, also known as Rock Cemetery, is a Grade II listed site at the south-east corner of Forest Recreation Ground in Nottingham. It was created around an old sand mine and some of the mine tunnels give the place a unique atmosphere. It was founded in 1848 but did not open until 1856. A church was included in the design, which gave the cemetery its name, but this was not built at the time of its opening. The construction works involved the removal and relocation of some 20,000 tons of earth and the laying out of paths and suitable planting including Cedars of Lebanon.

Thanks to the team at Nottingham City Council (Parks and Cemeteries Department), we joined them to look around the site. The tour was titled Rock Cemetery Catacomb Tour and is well worth a visit. The bonus for us was that we finally discovered the grave of John Thompson.

It was very much overgrown and 150 years of nature has added to its character.

Here are some images for you. 

How to find the grave

Here is the map of the cemetery with Select Site C marked

Here’s a plan showing Plot 1292 within Select Site C

Bendigo Exhibition

Exhibition To Celebrate ‘Bendigo’

The Bendigo Heritage Project has teamed up with Cafe Sobar on Friar Lane to exhibit a number of images and artwork that promote the importance of Bendigo to the City of Nottingham. 

Visitors to Cafe Sobar can now see a variety of items collated by the project since they formed in 2016. There are photographs, some pieces of modern art and memorabilia. It is hoped that the display will stimulate interest in the story of Nottingham’s first sporting superstar.

It will also highlight the work of Café Sobar as an innovative alcohol-free cafe and social space in Nottingham city centre.

William Thompson (known as ‘Bendigo’) was a 19th century boxer who fought 21 times between 1831 and 1850. He went on to become the undefeated Champion of England and is credited with introducing the ‘southpaw’ boxing stance. 

Shortly after his retirement, his mother died and Bendigo developed a problem with alcohol. This led to a number of arrests, behaviour that tarnished his reputation for a number of years.                                                                                                                         

His life had to change and the moment came when he attended The Mechanics Institute to hear a talk by a preacher named Richard Weaver. Bendigo joined Weaver’s revivalist church and he also preached the sermon to congregations up and down the country. His conversion was written about in various publications, including a well known poem titled Bendigo’s Sermon by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.   

Alan Dawson, trustee of the Bendigo Heritage Project said: 

We are keen for the public to see the items that we have collated, and Cafe Sobar is an ideal venue. It is a supportive network that gets people back into a positive lifestyle, something that wouldn’t have been available to Bendigo. Our gallery of items is not extensive but there is a variety of Bendigo related imagery to get people’s attention.  

Alan Dawson

Jason Loftus, the general manager at Cafe Sobar said: 

“Café Sobar and its parent charity Double Impact are honoured and excited to be in partnership with the amazing Bendigo Heritage Project. There are so many parallels with the life of this Nottingham legend and our own social mission. This partnership is the perfect fit for us to spread the legend of Bendigo and the transformative message he shared even further.”

Jason Loftus

A preview evening was held to allow supporters of the project to see these previously unseen items.

The free exhibition will run from Saturday 3rd February to the 1st April. It will be accessible during normal opening times at Cafe Sobar. 

Ukrainians Welcomed to Nottingham

We have recently offered our guided tour to families who have arrived in Nottingham from the war in Ukraine. It is the least we can do to welcome them to Nottingham. We have adapted our tour to include details of modern Nottingham, but still managed to tell The Bendigo Story.

Welcome to Nottingham

Ukraine has of course produced some of the best heavyweight fighters in recent years. Vitali Klitschko and Wladimir Klitschko were in their prime between 2004 and 2015. Then there is Usyk, who is due to fight Anthony Joshua again later this year.

The Guinness World Records show the Klitschkos as the pair of brothers with most world heavyweight title fight wins.

Vitali retired from boxing in 2013, relinquishing the WBC world title, and became a politician. He is now the the mayor of Kyiv. Wladimir successfully defended his titles before losing to Tyson Fury in 2015. Both brothers hold doctorates in sports science and speak multiple languages.

Our Ukrainian guests seemed to enjoy the wonderful buildings and the sporting heritage that Nottingham has to offer. They were shown the Motorpoint Arena and interested to learn that another Ukrainian boxer fought there in 2005.

Andry Kotelnik is from Lviv in Ukraine and had a very successful fourteen year career, winning and retaining the WBA Super lightweight title. His visit to Nottingham in 2005 ended in a rare defeat for him, losing to Junior Witter after 12 rounds and by Unanimous Decision.

Kotelnik went on to winning the world title and successfully defended it three year later in Cardiff, against Gavin Rees in his home town. Kotelnik sensationally won in the twelfth round by a stoppage.

The circumstances of our Ukrainian friends is an awful situation, but we hope that their stay in Nottingham is a positive one, until it is safe for them to return.

Our Ukrainian guests at the Bendigo memorial

We have also offered our Welcome to Nottingham tour to other refugee groups in Nottingham.

New Civic Plaque For Bendigo

Legendary Prize-Fighter ‘Bendigo’ is known to have a strong association with the Forest Tavern in Nottingham. He was close to the landlord John Ellis, who supported him in his career and beyond. The building now has a plaque installed in his memory, thanks to funding by Nottingham Civic Society.

The unveiling was conducted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, Cllr Nicola Heaton, who spoke about Nottingham’s sporting heritage and the importance of Bendigo to it.

Cllr Nicola Heaton unveiling the plaque

In the 1830s, the Forest Tavern would not have been surrounded by housing, as it is now. It would have had a rural feel to it. The location had until then been known as a place of public execution and was also a turnpike. There were even a dozen windmills along what is now Forest Road, taking advantage of the hilltop location. The Forest Tavern was one of the first properties built along that stretch of Mansfield Road, before the Enclosure Act allowed Nottingham to expand. The Rock Cemetery was created in 1845 and St Andrews Church in 1871.

Alan Dawson of the Bendigo Heritage Project said:

‘We know that the first proprietor of the Forest Tavern was a Londoner named John Ellis. It seems he was a close friend of Bendigo. In addition to allowing the tavern as a base for him to train, it was also used to exhibit his cups and belts. John Ellis was also on the committee that organised and funded the lion memorial over Bendigo’s grave. It’s an important part of the Bendigo story.’

Jevon Patrick of the Bendigo Heritage Project said:

We are really grateful to the Nottingham Civic Society for supporting us and in recognising Bendigo’s contribution to our city. The building is no longer a pub but it has been tastefully maintained in keeping with the Arboretum Conservation Area. The plaque will be a constant reminder to people using the busy Mansfield Road. We have specifically chosen a blue plaque to represent the colour that Bendigo used at his fights, ‘Bird’s Eye Blue’.

Funding for the plaque has been provided by the Nottingham Civic Society.

Hilary Silvester Chair of Nottingham Civic Society said:

Nottingham Civic Society is delighted to be joining with the Bendigo Heritage Project, to celebrate and commemorate Nottingham’s 19th Century sporting hero, William Thompson, nicknamed Bendigo. For a number of years, it seems, he was largely forgotten, so it is good that he once more has an enthusiastic band of followers. We congratulate them on their achievements on Bendigo’s behalf, and wish them well in their future work to publicise the city’s Victorian pugilist.’

Hilary Silvester

Ian Wells of the Nottingham Civic Society also spoke about why they wanted to support us in keeping the Bendigo story accessible to future generations.

The event also welcomed Nottingham’s rising star, welterweight boxer Ekow Essuman. Ekow was joined by his Nottingham trainer Barrington Brown. It was great to see passers-by stopping to acknowledge Ekowe, whose last fight was at Wembley Stadium in April whne he retained his British, Commonwealth and European titles against Darren Tetley.

The Sheriff of Nottingham with Ekowe Essuman and Barrington Brown

We were also joined by Colin Wilde and Gaz Peacham, from Castle Rock Brewery. Castle Rock owned the building of the Forest Tavern until its closure a few years ago.

Gaz Peacham and Colin Wilde for Castle Rock Brewery

Cassius Clay at Nottingham Ice Stadium

In our guided tour, we visit Bendigo’s grave and then Sneinton Market, where we pause to talk about Nottingham after his death. Most professional boxing in Nottingham took place at the nearby Victoria Leisure Centre or the Ice Stadium. Did you know that Cassius Clay was there in 1963?

He didn’t fight there but we’re proud to say he came to a night of boxing in Bendigo’s town. We found this story by Ethan Lewis and are grateful for the image too.

On the 27th of May 1963 my father, aged 15 at the time, met Cassius Clay at the Victoria Hotel in Nottingham (now the Hilton Hotel). He also obtained his autograph (pictured below).

Ethan Lewis

Cassius Clay was also photographed with two well-known Nottingham Police Officers. PCs Geoff Baker and Denis ‘Tug’ Wilson were both about 7 feet tall in their boots and helmets.

Cassius Clay standing 6’3 with Pcs Baker and Wilson

Clay was in the city to watch the British Middleweight Title fight between George Aldridge and Mick Leahy. This was prior to Clay’s fight with Henry Cooper at Wembley.

The Aldridge v Leahy fight was for the British Middle Weight Title and took place on 28th May at the Nottingham Ice Stadium. It lasted just 1 minute 45 seconds. The referee Ike Powell stopped the fight after Aldridge was knocked down twice, Leahy winning on a Technical Knockout.

Leahy’s career spanned nine years between 1956 and 1965. The orthodox middle weight lived in Coventry but hailed from Cork, Ireland. It wasn’t the first time Leahy had fought at Nottingham’s Ice Stadium. He faced Nottingham’s Wally Swift there in December 1964. The promoter was Reg King and again the British Middleweight titel was up for grabs. It went the full 15 rounds with Swift winning on points.

George Aldridge was a middle weight from Market Harborough in Leicestershire. His career of 52 professional bouts was between 1956 and 1963.

“Ask no questions, I’ll just talk”

Back to Cassius Clay and the Victoria Hotel press-conference. Clay said to the press ‘Ask no questions, I’ll just talk’.

In true style, Clay predicted that he would beat Cooper in the fifth round. He was right.

Clay also described that Sonny Liston was an ‘ugly bear’ who would ‘fall in eight’.

Clay and Cooper met on the 18th June 1963 at Wembley Stadium, the referee was Tommy Little.  Despite knocking Clay down in the 4th round, the fight was stopped in the next round due to cuts suffered by Cooper. Cooper fought him again (as Mohammed Ali) in 1966 and that fight was also stopped for the same reason.

Clay was nearly right about his fight with Sonny Liston, which took place the following February in Miami. Liston retired in the sixth round, claiming a shoulder injury.

Cassius Clay (as Mohammed Ali) returned to Nottingham in 1992. This time it was for a book signing event, at Dillon’s bookshop in the town centre.

Thanks as always to BoxRec for the records of the boxers and their fights.

Bendigo On The Big Screen

We have always thought The Bendigo Story would make it to the big screen. Well now it has. Well sort of.

Bendigo gets ‘name checked’ and even appears in one scene of a new film alongside another boxing great named Jem Mace:

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain.

The film depicts the true story of eccentric British artist Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch). Wain became famous with creating playful, sometimes even psychedelic pictures of cats. Moving from the late 1800s through to the 1930s, it follow the incredible adventures of this inspiring, unsung hero, as he seeks to unlock the “electrical” mysteries of the world and, in so doing, to better understand his own life.  

Directed by BAFTA award-winning Will Sharpe. Story by Simon Stephenson, screenplay by Simon Stephenson and Will Sharpe.  

The story starts in 1881.

This immediately rules out Bendigo from being personally involved, but who cares.

This is the cinema and if a film about a true 19th century character wants to acknowledge that Bendigo was the biggest name in boxing, then so be it.

Bendigo Supporters

In Scene 9, Louis Wain is is seen sparring with James “Jem” Mace (1831 – 1910). Mace’s fighting career actually started in the 1850s, after Bendigo had retired.

They could though have sparred together though. At the height of his career, Mace won the English Welterweight, Heavyweight, and Middleweight titles. Like Bendigo, he was considered one of the most scientific boxers of the era. Most impressively, he held the World Heavyweight Championship from 1870 to 1871 while fighting in the United States.

The scene in the film describes them sparring at Mace’s boxing gym in London. It is known that Mace trained in London at Nat Langham’s Rum Pum Pas boxing club.

Here is the script from two scenes in the film. Taken from Amazon Studio Guilds

Scene 9 – JEM MACE’S BOXING GYM, LONDON – DAY 

SMACK! WALLOP! LOUIS is suddenly boxing. A SKETCH of the famous boxer BENDIGO – hangs on the wall. LOUIS keeps throwing himself at a much bigger SPARRING OPPONENT.

THWACK! LOUIS falls onto his back and starts laughing.

JEM MACE

Alright, Wain, that’s enough. You’ll be late for your meetings…

LOUIS

Let me have one last crack at him!

LOUIS dizzily wobbles back to his feet, jiggling about in a febrile dance. OTHER BOXERS, both men and women, enjoy this.

LOUIS (CONT’D)

The Bendigo Shuffle! Come on, you big brute. Give me your best shot!

THE BIG BOXER thinks about it for a second. Then – THWACK!

‘The Bendigo Shuffle’? We like the sound of that.

The next scene actually features Bendigo

Scene 100 – EXT. BOXING TENT, LONDON – DAY (1886)

TWO FIGHTERS do battle – the huge JOURNEYMAN and the sprightly BENDIGO, who has a weird, cheeky charisma, bouncing about and making up insulting rhymes to put off his opponent.

LOUIS

Go on, Bendigo!

RAILTON

Curious little fellow, isn’t he.

BENDIGO is doing a dance – like LOUIS’ own eccentric boxing dance – pulling silly faces at the JOURNEYMAN. FLASH PHOTOGRAPHERS huddle to take shots. LOUIS and RAILTON sit ringside. LOUIS is trying to draw BENDIGO.

LOUIS

But he’s electric, Herb. Look how his fancy all adore himHalf his opponent’s size but he knows how to harness the electricity of the crowd… look, see! There it is.

FLASH! POW! WAPOW! FLASH! FLASH!

RAILTON

Are you talking about the photographers?

LOUIS

No, Herb. Look properly. The electricity. Finally, I feel like I’m starting to understand it. In fact I have a hypothesis that electricity is what pushes us through time. And if I can find a way to conduct and divert electricity with more accuracy, I could, in theory, experience the past as if it were no different to the future…

Have you seen the film?

Let us know what you think.

James ‘Jem Mace

More Than a Statue Appeal

You may have noticed we have changed our ‘trading name’ to The Bendigo Heritage Project.

At a recent meeting, we reviewed the objectives of our campaign and also the individual roles of the trustees.

We realised the project has developed into something wider than a statue appeal. It has become a broader heritage project. Whilst the ultimate goal is to commission a prominent statue of Bendigo in Nottingham, the project is an ongoing celebration of Bendigo’s life and achievements.

We want all visitors to Nottingham to be aware of The Bendigo Story, whether they are from the area, tourists, on business. or visiting for another event.

Alan Dawson – Trustee of The Bendigo Heritage Project

To ensure this, the project now includes:

Guided Tour – Publications – Merchandise – Establishing an Archive of Images and Items – Exhibitions and other events – Ensuring that the Local Authority Celebrate The Bendigo Story at every opportunity (Using Civic Plaques and Signage).

We hope you will continue to support us in any way you can.

Here’s a couple of items we have obtained for our collection:

Bendigo – Antique Aquatint by Charles Hunt. London. Published April 10, 1846 by J. Moore.

Home Brewery bottle label c 1970

Bendigo and Cricket

Bendigo’s interest and involvement with the sport of cricket is well recorded. Not only was the man himself a capable cricketer, he was also a regular visitor to Trent Bridge cricket ground from its inception in the 1830s.

This was the decade that Bendigo’s boxing career took off, and Bendigo would have been somewhat of a celebrity who was always good entertainment. There is a story about Bendigo being at a match when a ball was hit and heading in his direction. He calmly removed his top hat and caught the ball using the hat, only for the ball to go straight through it, much to the amusement of the crowd.

Cricket At Trent Bridge

Nottingham Cricket Club is known to have played matches from 1771 and fifteen matches involving this side have been awarded first-class status. There was also a first-class match played by a combined Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire side in 1803. The first matches played as a Nottinghamshire side took place in 1829. 

Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club was formally created in 1841, when William Clarke established Trent Bridge as a cricket venue adjacent to the public house he ran. It was Clarke’s successor as Nottinghamshire captain, George Parr, who first captained a united England touring team in 1859.

Bendigo Matched With George Parr

Bendigo’s cricketing ability is further enhanced by an invitation from George Parr to a challenge match one-on-one. George Parr was considered the best player in the world at the time.

Bendigo describes it in this article from BritishNewspaperArchive.co.uk

Bendigo’s comments show his bravado has not diminished

In this article Bendigo brags about his achievements.

‘I have also played and beat at cricket Gerland of Leeds, one of the great All England players at that time’.

Bendigo appears to have mixed up the name Girling with Crossland to make Gerland!

I was matched to throw a cricket ball and then play the then great All-England cricketer George Parr. The match did not take place on account of me being seized with gout.

Bendigo forgets to say that Parr graciously declined to claim forfeit.

George Parr is commemorated at Trent Bridge

Trent Bridge was first used as a cricket ground in the 1830s. The first recorded cricket match was held on an area of ground behind the Trent Bridge Inn in 1838 with Trent Bridge hosting its first Test match in 1899, with England playing against Australia.

The modern Trent Bridge ground has stands that commemorate William Clarke and George Parr.

George Parr is widely considered to be the best cricket player in the world in his time

George Parr’s first-class career lasted from 1844 to 1870. He was a big name in cricket and was known as the “Lion of the North”. He was a right-handed batsman and bowled occasional right-handed underarm deliveries. He played mainly for Nottinghamshire, and was club captain from 1856 to 1870 making occasional appearances for other counties and for Marylebone Cricket Club.

Parr was a stalwart of the All-England Eleven and was captain of the first England touring team, which went to North America in 1859. He also captained England’s unbeaten second tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1864.

Parr played in 207 first-class matches and had 358 innings, in 30 of which he was not out. Parr is widely considered as the best cricket player in the world in his time. He scored 6,626 runs (average 20.20) at a time when conditions greatly favoured bowlers. His highest score was 130 for Nottinghamshire, against Surrey at The Oval on 14 July 1859. He made 31 fifties and took 126 catches. He took 29 wickets in his career.

Reports About Bendigo Facing Arthur Girling

‘I have also played and beat at cricket Gerland of Leeds, one of the great All-England players at that time.

I was matched to throw a cricket ball and play the then All-England cricketer George Parr. The match did not take place on account of me being seized with gout.

The article is a good example of Bendigo’s unassailoble beief in his own sporting ability.

The following letter in response to the article gives more detail.

The match referred to was played at Alrewas on September 20th 1836.

Bendigo’s opponent was Arthur Girling, who went on to be a professional at Manchester.

In the match at Alrewas, Girling scored 3 and 4, and Bendigo 3 and 5 (not out).

Arthur Girling (1807 – 1849) was a first-class cricketer and umpire. He was born at Burton upon Trent and made his debut in first-class cricket for the North against the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) at Lord’s in 1841. He next played first-class cricket in 1845, when he appeared for Manchester against Yorkshire. He played cricket for Manchester until 1848, making six appearances. His best figures of 6 for 32 came against Sheffield in 1848, a match in which he took two five-wicket hauls. He also stood as an umpire in two first-class matches in 1840 and 1841.  Girling died at Manchester in June 1849 at the age of 42.

Bendigo – The Bad Loser

There is also a report of Bendigo visiting Leeds in Yorkshire where he played a two-on-two at Woodhouse Moor. Bendigo easily beat a man named Ibbetson who was described as a ‘professor of the noble game’ and who played professionally around 1850. This win against Ibbetson allowed Bendigo (and a fielder) to play Mr J Holland and Andrew Crossland (a first class cricketer and umpire).

Crossland again went in and obtained 12 . The last ball he hit and run 2 for it, but just before Bendigo could field the ball, a dog started after it and Bendy, finding he had got too good a customer, walked off the ground, saying that he had not come to play dogs at cricket.

Andrew Crossland (1816 – 1902) was active from 1844 who played for Sheffield Cricket Club. Born in Dalton, Huddersfield, he died in November 1902 in Hull. His son Samuel Crossland also played first-class cricket

The Top-Hat Story

This story featured in a 1903 copy of the Evening Star. The game in question is suggested to be 1847 and at Trent Bridge where George Parr was playing.

It was etiquette to wear a top-hat at cricket matches. Before the game, the batsman were practicing, and one of them hit a ball towards Bendigo who was described as a fine athlete and a great cricketer. Bendigo was described as more than capable of catching the ball, removed his hat to preserve his hands and attempted to catch the ball using his hat. However, the ball went straight through – to the amusement of the crowd.

The Top-Hat Article

George ‘The Squire’ Osbaldeston

We shouldn’t finish without mentioning George Osbaldeston, a first class cricketer (as well as Member of Parliament for East Retford) who played professionally for Marylebone Cricket Club, Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire.

He also took on the unenviable task of refereeing the third fight between Bendigo and Ben Caunt in 1845, the one that was described as ‘the most scandalous brawl in boxing history. 

George Osbaldeston was the classic sporting hero of the period. The Cricket Mash blog describes him as ‘a versatile all-round sportsman, compulsive gambler and life-long philanderer. He was one of the most colourful characters of early cricket’.

Born in 1787 to a wealthy family, Osbaldeston went from Eton to Brasenose College.

In the same year he had his famous duel with Lord George Bentinck. Osbaldeston putting a bullet through his opponent’s hat within two inches of the brain.

Known as ‘The Squire’, Osbaldeston was a High Sheriff of Yorkshire and for six years M.P. for East Retford.

He died in 1866, leaving no heir, just his reputation.

Thanks to BritishNewspaperArchive.co.uk for the articles featured here.

Belfast 1 – Nottingham 0

When our campaign started in 2016, former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan wished us luck. He also mentioned a similar campaign, for a statue in memory of Rinty Monaghan in Belfast.

In 2015, a statue of the former world champion boxer, John ‘Rinty’ Monaghan was unveiled close to his birthplace in Belfast. Monaghan was the first boxer from the city to win a world title, becoming flyweight champion in 1948.  

McGuigan Knows All About Bendigo

We have recently discovered that long before our campaign started, McGuigan had even celebrated the contribution of Bendigo to the sport.

In September 1991, he spoke about Bendigo in a BBC Radio 4 programme.

Similarities In The Two Campaigns

Having looked at news reports on the Rinty Monaghan statue, we have identified a number of similarities to the campaign here in Nottingham. The two cities even have a similar population. Belfast 280,000 and Nottingham weighing in at 330,000.

BBC News in Northern Ireland reported:

‘He wasn’t just a fighter, he was an entertainer’

This was the description of Monaghan by the sculptor Alan Beattie Herriot. The same has been said of Bendigo.

Photo credit Albert Bridge and the Sporting Statues Project in Sheffield

Champions 100 Years Apart

Monaghan was the first boxer from the Belfast to win a world title, becoming flyweight champion in 1948.

Bendigo was the first boxer from Nottingham to win the All England title in 1839 and again in 1845.

The 3m bronze statue of Monaghan was erected in Cathedral Gardens Belfast, close to where he grew up.

The statue of Bendigo will (most likely) be erected in Trinity Square Nottingham, close to his birthplace.

Monaghan’s family attended the ceremony, and were joined by well-known boxers, Belfast councillors and crowds of boxing fans.

The ceremony in Nottingham will welcome the many people who have helped us and who have a connection with Bendigo’s story.

The website for Irish Boxing reported that ‘the unveiling of the Rinty Monaghan statue in Belfast this year was one of the biggest occasions in Belfast Boxing.

We know that when Nottingham’s statue to Bendigo is unveiled, it will be one of the biggest occasions in Nottingham Boxing.

Five Year Campaign

In the BBC article, Rinty Monaghan’s great-nephew Eamon McAuley said that the statue was ‘absolutely beautiful’. He described his great-uncle as a ‘working-class hero. He also said that after a five-year campaign to erect the statue, his family were going to celebrate ‘a wonderful day’.

We expect that our statue to Bendigo will also be a beautiful work of art to honour Nottingham’s ‘working class hero’.

Our campaign is now eight years old, but……

Maybe it’s time that we celebrated with a beautiful day too?

The Bendigo Story – Guided Walk

                                                                                                       

Visitors to Nottingham can now learn about the incredible life of William ‘Bendigo’ Thomson in a new guided walking tour in the city centre.

‘The Bendigo Story’ is led by trustees of the Bendigo Memorial Fund. The tour starts in Nottingham’s Old Market Square and finishes at St Mary’s Church in the Lace Market.

Jevon and Alan at the grave with their ‘tour-guide’ umbrellas

Total walking distance is about two miles, at a relaxed pace and with regular stops to talk and explain the incredible story of Bendigo and 19th century Nottingham.

Here’s a review from Trip Advisor.

Lovely Saturday morning on the Bendigo Heritage Walk. Alan is very informative and entertaining. Lots of tales of Bendigo’s life, and some other interesting facts and hidden gems of Nottingham.

Julie (April 2021)

Two tours are scheduled once a month but private tours can be arranged with a minimum of six people.

Tickets can be obtained at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-bendigo-story-tickets-127381011033

Private tours can be arranged by contacting the Bendigo Heritage Project at: bendigofund@gmail.com

“Our guided walk has taken a lot of planning but we feel it has been worth it. We can tailor the tour to different groups with specific interests. We are sure it will be of interest to locals and to people visiting Nottingham for a city break or sporting event”.

Tour guide Alan Dawson

“We’re so excited about this! We can’t wait to introduce people to a story that has been Nottingham’s hidden, little gem. We’re going to unravel a tale that would be fit for filmmakers in Hollywood – and it’s on the city’s doorstep!”

Tour guide Jevon Patrick

Ryan Walker-Drain, the chair of Bendigo Memorial Fund said:

Thanks go to Alan and Jevon (the tour guides) for setting this up, The Bendigo Story will be a great way for visitors to learn about our first boxing superstar. It will also raise funds for our statue appeal.