VENERATED actor Edward Fox sprinkled some star dust on a new bust of Sir John Betjeman near the poet's former home in Wantage.

The double BAFTA Award winner, who lives nearby, read two of the former Poet Laureate's poems about Wantage at an unveiling ceremony on Sunday.

Wantage Town Council, which raised the £20,000 to commission the sculpture, officially presented it to the town on the 110th anniversary of the poet's birth – August 28.

The bronze bust, which now stands outside the Vale and Downland Museum, was created by West Oxfordshire sculptor Martin Jennings.

It is an exact replica of the head and shoulders of his John Betjeman statue which was installed at St Pancras Station in London in 2007.

Former Wantage mayor Fiona Roper, who led fundraising for the bust for the past five years, said: "It was brilliant, we could not have asked for a better day.

"It fits very nicely outside the museum and everyone is really pleased with it.

"The high point was definitely having Edward Fox there – he said it was a fantastic event and he was very pleased to be associated with it."

More than 70 people attended Sunday's ceremony, including the sculptor himself, members of John Betjeman's family and parish priest Fr. John Salter, who blessed the statue.

Sir John and his wife Penelope lived in the Mead, Wantage, from 1951 to 1972 and he wrote two poems about the town, Wantage Bells and On Leaving Wantage.

He had a long association with the parish church opposite the museum and successfully lobbied for a weather vane to be put on the church tower.

He was also a governor at St Mary's School in Wantage and a churchwarden.

Wantage Town Council first applied for planning permission to erect a £50,000 replica of the St Pancras Betjeman statue in the churchyard in 2011.

Vale of White Horse District Council granted permission but the council eventually agreed to have a more modest bust at the museum opposite.

Mrs Roper secured funding for the sculpture from the Wantage Joint Economic Forum, various charitable trusts and private donors in the Wantage area.

The new bust stands atop a two-metre-high plinth and is inscribed with the words "John Betjeman – 1906 - 1984 – Poet and Parishioner".

It joins the town's other tributes to the great man, the John Betjeman Memorial Park just a stone's throw away from the museum across the Letcombe Brooke and the annual (not just) Betjeman Literary Festival.

The unveiling also coincides with an exhibition inside the museum on the Betjemans' life in Wantage, including Mrs Betjeman's much-loved King Alfred's Kitchen, which runs until September 10.

The town council hopes the bust will attract more Betjeman buffs to the town.