Dame Judi Dench makes major donation to crowdfunding campaign for Victoria Wood statue

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Dame Judi Dench has donated £1,000 to help fund a statue of the late comedian Victoria Wood.

The Oscar-winning actress is backing a campaign to erect a life-size statue of Victoria in the centre of Bury in Lancashire as a permanent tribute to the star.

Victoria Wood's brother is raising money for a statue to her (Jonathan Short/AP)
Victoria Wood (Jonathan Short/AP)

Victoria died in April at the age of 62 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Her brother Chris Foote Wood, who is running the online crowdfunding campaign, said: "Dame Judi's gift is a fantastic boost to the appeal and is all the more welcome as it has taken us over the halfway mark to our target of £20,000.

Judi Dench at the Globe Theatre in central London, for a Gala evening
Dame Judi Dench (Joel Ryan/AP)

"I'm sure it will encourage more actors, comedians and other showbiz professionals to contribute."

Chris has gained the support of Bury Council, which has agreed to provide the site and do ongoing maintenance, but the cost of the statue must be met by eager fans.

If all goes to plan, the memorial will be built in Library Gardens in Manchester Road by May or June next year.

Victoria Wood's brother Chris Foote Wood and Councillor Rishi Shori meeting in Bury to agree a site for a statue
Victoria Wood's brother Chris Foote Wood and Councillor Rishi Shori meeting in Bury to agree a site for a statue (Bury Council)

Council leader Rishi Shori previously said: "Victoria was a national treasure and a major talent in a variety of areas - actor, writer, comedian and singer-songwriter.

"We feel it's only right that there should be a fitting tribute to her in the borough in which she was born."

Victoria Wood died after a battle with cancer (Peter Jordan/PA)
Victoria Wood died after a battle with cancer (Peter Jordan/PA)

Victoria once dismissed the title of "national treasure", telling the Daily Mail: "There should only ever be one at a time. For years, it was Dame Thora Hird.

"After she died, it was going to be Judi Dench, but then Joanna Lumley saved the Gurkhas so she got the gig."