Hundreds of fans gathered in Camden, north London, on Sunday for the unveiling of a statue in memory of singer Amy Winehouse.
The bronze sculpture, which sports Winehouse's signature beehive hairstyle, a star of David necklace and a live red rose in her hair, was placed in the heart of the Stables Market as a memorial to the singer, who died three years ago of alcohol poisoning aged 27.
Fans travelled from mainland Europe and even Hawaii to get a first glimpse of the memorial on Sunday morning, which sculptor Scott Eaton said he hoped was "reflective and contemplative", breaking into loud applause as the black screen obscuring the statue was taken down and the grey blanket pulled away to reveal the statue posed with one hand on her hip.
Actor Barbara Windsor, who was a friend of Winehouse's and remains a patron of the foundation set up in the singer's name, said it was a great honour to unveil the statue on a day that would also have been the Back to Black singer's 31st birthday.
"I've been in this business for 66 years now and I've had many honours throughout my career, but this is the greatest honour," said Windsor. "I was one of the fortunate people who got to know Amy in the last few years of her too short life. Not only was she one of the greatest talents that this country has ever produced, she was a warm, lovely kind and fun lady. She was what we call in our business a superb bird, that's what she was. Amy loved Camden with a passion and Camden loved her so it's only right her presence should remain here."
As the statue was revealed to the crowds, Winehouse's father Mitch, who was a driving force behind getting the statue erected in the north London borough and was fully involved in the design, planted a kiss on the cheek of the statue.
He said: "It's a day of incredibly mixed emotions. They don't put statues up for people who are with us anymore so it reinforces the fact that physically she's gone but spiritually she'll never leave us. I feel sad, very, very sad. We shouldn't be here but we are, this is the reality and we've just got to make the most of it. So this statue is part of making the most of it. Getting people to come here, spend some time with Amy and put a flower in her hair and remember her in a very positive way. That for me is wonderful."
He added: "I'll be coming to visit it all the time. It was difficult to see the sculpture at first but I'm getting used to it. It looks just beautiful."
Winehouse's mother Janis was also at the unveiling, though she said she had not been involved with the project at all.
"It's just a wow, a definite wow," she said. "I am pleased with how the statue turned out because you can see that it's Amy. It is soon but it was beyond our control – events overtook events but we're very proud of it. Camden is Amy's place, it's where she belongs."
Fan Marcello Forelli, 59, had travelled from Venice to attend the unveiling. Sporting an Amy Winehouse T-shirt and showing off a colour portrait of the singer tattooed on his chest, he said: "I wanted to come here to see Amy. She was the best singer in the world so this is a sad day."
Happy 31st Birthday, Amy!
via The Guardian