Unveiling of bronze statue of MP Barbara Castle

A bronze statue of former Blackburn MP Barbara Castle has been unveiled in Blackburn.

The ex-Labour Cabinet minister, who died in 2002 at the age of 91, was one of the UK's longest serving MPs and famously introduced the Equal Pay Act in 1970.

She was the youngest woman elected in Labour's 1945 landslide victory, serving until 1979.

Barbara Castle MP Credit: PA

The new statue, made by sculptor Sam Holland and unveiled in Jubilee Square in Blackburn shows Baroness Barbara holding The Equal Pay Act 1970. She also introduced the breathalyser and compulsory seatbelts in new cars.

The Kent-based artist won a national competition to win the right to recreate the famous former MP.

The Barbara Castle statue unveiled in Blackburn.

Sam said: “Barbara should have been celebrated 50 years ago. She was a great advocate for those who aren’t heard.

“At the time, she was a lone woman among men in power. She’s always kept going forward and pushing the boundaries.

“The hardest part of the process is getting the pose right. It’s all about capturing her energy and determination.”

It took a year to model because of the coronavirus pandemic. Sam was able to access the archives and spoke with people who knew her well.

She said: "It’s about tweaking and tweaking and tweaking until I can’t, or shouldn’t, anymore. Millimetres really make a difference.”

Sam produced the Geoffrey Chaucer statue in Canterbury and the RNLI memorial sculpture in Poole.