A MAJOR appeal has been launched in Worcester to raise £150,000 for a statue of two American presidents who visited the city in 1786.

It is being organised by the Battle of Worcester Society, which aims to erect the tribute to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in Fort Royal Park, a key location during the bloody engagement of 1651 which brought to an end the English Civil War.

During their visit, Adams made a speech to the crowd on Fort Royal Hill, expressing the pair’s surprise the citizens of Worcester appeared to know little or nothing about the epic battle on their streets 135 years before.

He said: “And do Englishmen so soon forget the ground where liberty was fought for? Tell your neighbours and your children that this is holy ground, much holier than that on which your churches stand. All England should come in pilgrimage to this hill once a year.”

Richard Shaw, chairman of the BoWS, explained: “Americans regard the Civil War as the English Revolution and we believe a statue of Adams and Jefferson would be a great attraction for tourists from the USA. We have discovered that although there are many statues of Thomas Jefferson, there is not one anywhere of John Adams, so Worcester will have the first in the world.”

Planning permission has already been granted by Worcester City Council and Historic England is processing an application for Scheduled Monument Consent, as Fort Royal Park is listed as a Scheduled Monument.

It is regarded as the epicentre of the final battle between the armies of King Charles II and Oliver Cromwell in which 1,500 men died fighting to gain control of the fort.

The statue has been designed by Ken Potts, a Fellow of the Battle of Worcester Society and the man who sculptured the Elgar statue opposite the cathedral.

In 1786 John Adams was the American ambassador in London and Thomas Jefferson held the same role in Paris.

They were very significant day trippers as three years later Adams was to become the first vice-president of America and then the second president in 1797 until 1801.

Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, was to become Adams’ vice president in 1797 and then followed him as the third President of America in 1801 until 1809.

Launched at an event in the Great Hall of The Commandery by Lord Faulkner of Worcester, the monument fund has started well with a substantial donation from Worcestershire Ambassadors, plus £1,000 from Worcester City councillor Jabba Riaz on behalf of Air Products, the American company he works for, and a further £1,000 from BoWS member Steve Hunt on behalf of his company Spectrum Environmental.

Mr Shaw said: “Other generous donations were made on the day bringing the total raised to £4,000.

“With the £10,000 the society had already raised prior to the event, the appeal is off to a magnificent start. The Battle of Worcester Society has also written to contacts in American from which it is hoped a few more dollars will be forthcoming.

“Anyone wishing to donate should contact the Battle of Worcester Society on Worcester 358640, or email richardshaw99@live.co.uk.

“All donations are welcome regardless of how large or small.”