It’s launch day for London’s latest statue. The likeness of the world’s first space man, Yuri Gagarin, was unveiled this morning near Admiralty Arch (on the spot previously occupied by Barry Flanagan’s prancing hares).
Those in attendance included the great man’s daughter Elena Gagarina, the head of the Russian space agency, and Sergei Krikalev, the world’s most experienced space traveller.
The location of the statue is not without significance. It was near this spot that Gagarin met Prime Minister Harold MacMillan, when he visited London a few months after his famous flight 50 years ago.
The zinc statue is a gift from the Russian space agency to the British Council to mark the flight’s anniversary. Westminster Council have blessed it for a year, after which time it’ll move on elsewhere. The BC also supported First Orbit, a free online film about the cosmonaut (from director Chris Riley of In The Shadow of the Moon fame) that, really, everyone should watch.