Fundraising for a life-size bronze statue of Valegro in his hometown of Newent, Glos, is under way.

“Blueberry” and Charlotte Dujardin paraded through the town centre yesterday (27 November), meeting hordes of fans, to launch a crowd-funder campaign to raise £80,000 — approximately half the total cost of the sculpture, which it is hoped will be complete in late 2018.

“Thank you to everybody who turned out today as we launched a fundraising campaign to enable a very special commission of a life size sculpture of Valegro, to stand in the town centre of Newent next year to celebrate everything this amazing horse has done for dressage,” said Charlotte.

“As usual Blueberry loved meeting everyone and nearly took over the interviews with the TV broadcasters. I had to drag him away.”

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The casting of the bronze sculpture — to be titled Valegro the Dancing Horse — will be carried out by a Gloucestershire foundry, and an equestrian sculptor is working closely with Carl Hester to create a representation of Valegro in action.

Carl will work with registered charity Newent Initiative Trust, which works to support disadvantaged local people, on the project, which aims to inspire local communities and raise the profile of Newent and Gloucestershire, as well as celebrate all Valegro has done for the sport.

In the first 24 hours of fund-raising £650 has been raised. Those pledging £50 will receive a photo of Valegro signed by Carl and Charlotte, with those donating £100 also having their name listed on the project website. Anyone donating £10,000 will have their name engraved on a commemorative plaque near the sculpture, and will have the chance to visit the sculptor’s workshop to see the statue being created.

The 15-year-old KWPN gelding by Negro was retired in an emotional ceremony at Olympia 2016 after an unprecedented dressage career, in which he won gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016, as well as becoming world and European champion. He and Charlotte still hold world record scores in the grand prix, the grand prix special and the grand prix freestyle, the latter with 94.03%.

For more details and to make a donation to the project visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/valegro-the-dancing-horse

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