A DATE has finally been set for a statue of blockbuster crime writer Agatha Christie to go up in Wallingford town centre.

The bronze statue, which has been planned since 2018, is due to be erected in September 2023 in the Kinecroft near Wallingford Museum which houses a permanent Christie exhibition.

A mock-up of the statue has Christie sat on a bench with a book open with space to the right of her for people to sit down for photos.

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Herald Series: A mock-up of what the statue could look like.A mock-up of what the statue could look like.

Town councillors approved plans for the statue at an estimated cost of £60,000.

However, a total of £102,000 has been secured for the project in off-site contributions from the Verda Park development in Hithercroft Road.

Councillor Stephen Beatty, who secured the funds, hopes the statue will bring tourism to the town form “all over the world”.

He said: “It wasn’t just the case of sticking a statue in the ground of someone, it’s a professional attempt at bringing tourists into Wallingford and Agatha has got such a brilliant connection to the town.

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“We want tourists from all over the world to be looking at coming to Wallingford. There’s a bit more money going to the project now as costs have gone up and it’s a bit more elaborate.

“But I do honestly believe that this spending is going to be for the good of the town.”

Herald Series: Agatha Christie was known for her 66 detective novels revolving around Hercule Poirot and Miss MarpleAgatha Christie was known for her 66 detective novels revolving around Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple

Councillors are also hoping to put together a “murder mystery” weekend but plans have yet to be confirmed.  “It’ll be something to get bums on seats,” said Mr Beatty.

Christie, best known for her murder mystery books and sleuths Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, was former president of the Sinodun Players drama group, which now owns Wallingford Corn Exchange.

She lived at Winterbrook House in Cholsey from 1934 until her death in 1976.

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It is believed she created Poirot and Miss Marple in the library while living there with her archaeologist second husband Max Mallowan.

They couple moved to the house in 1934 after she spotted it advertised in a local newspaper.

She lived in the house for more than 40 years until her death in 1976. She is buried in nearby St Mary's churchyard in Cholsey.

Herald Series: The statue will be erected near the musuemThe statue will be erected near the musuem

The house has an English Heritage blue plaque by the front door in recognition of its famous former owner.

Last year a crowdfunding page was launched by a community group to raise funds to buy her former house to transform the space into an arts centre. The group failed to raise the £2.75m needed to buy the property.

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