A proud Prestonian now living in Holland has made a donation to the Sir Richard Arkwright Statue Appeal.
Software consultant Mark Coleman, 32, from Fulwood, moved to Amsterdam in 2006, when he was hired by satellite navigation firm Tom Tom.
Seven years later he has settled into life in the Dutch capital, which he says is a beautiful city, and “worth a visit not only for the reasons everybody will tell you about!”
But he still misses his family and friends back home, and when he read about the campaign to build a statue of Preston’s forgotten father of the Industrial Revolution on the Evening Post’s website, he decided it was a worthy cause.
Sir Richard, who invented the first mechanised spinning machine and pioneered the factory system in Britain, is to be immortalised in bronze if supporters can raise £100,000.
Mark said: “I just saw it and thought it was a fantastic idea.
“Parts of Preston and some of the buildings are very beautiful, like the Harris Museum, but there are also some parts that are not.
“I think the buildings in a city influence the way people feel about a city. I thought if you can put up a statue like this, it will make a difference.”
The former Kennington Primary School and Fulwood High School pupil says his accent may have changed slightly, but his love for Lancashire has not.
He said: “I come back every year at Christmas to see my family.
“I came home for the Guild, which was great, because the whole city was alive. It was nice to see the city together as one.
“I think that kind of event and this statue gives people an idea of where they come from, and a little bit more pride.”
Tony Slater, appeal organiser, said Mark’s donation of £50 showed the reach of the appeal.
He said: “We are very grateful for this donation.
“It’s fantastic that a former Prestonian is still taking an interest in the city.”
Arkwright was born in 1732 and was living at Arkwright House in Lennox Street in 1768 when he developed the spinning frame, which mechanised the previously hand-operated spinning process and revolutionised textiles.
The only visible memorial in Preston to the world’s first industrialist is a small blue plaque on the wall of Arkwright House, hidden away in Stoneygate.
Organisers of the appeal are to make bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council, but need help from individuals and organisations.
For more details about the appeal contact Mr Slater at firstname.lastname@example.org, on 01772 200181 or 07703475258.