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Bronze Ford Model T unveiled in Fort William

The unveiling of the bronze Ford Model T at Cameron Square, Fort William. Photo by: Iain Ferguson
The unveiling of the bronze Ford Model T at Cameron Square, Fort William. Photo by: Iain Ferguson

A bronze statue was unveiled in Fort William town centre on Saturday, commemorating a key moment in Lochaber’s history.

In 1911 a Ford Model T car was driven up the tallest peak in the UK in a daring publicity stunt by Henry Alexander, Scotland’s first dealer of the American car company Ford.

In a bid to assure customers the Ford brand was of higher superiority to hand-crafted British cars, Mr Alexander ordered his son, Henry Alexander Jr, to drive a Model T from the foot of Ben Nevis to the peak.

Why is a bronze Model T Ford sculpture about to be unveiled in Fort William?

Now a bronze statue to remember the feat has been placed in Cameron Square in Fort William.

In 2011 a Ford Model T was dismantled into 77 pieces and carried to the peak of Ben Nevis by a group of 60 devoted volunteers, tackling some of the most gruelling weather Lochaber has to offer.

Commemorating 100 years since Mr Alexander Jr’s feat, the Model T, minus the engine, was reassembled at the top of Ben Nevis for a photo opportunity, before being disassembled and returned to the base of the mountain, with four volunteers required to carry the chassis alone.

A total of £55,000 was raised from the challenge and the money was used to buy the statue which was unveiled on Saturday. Commissioned by the Powderhall Foundry in Edinburgh, the statue weighs a whopping three tonnes and depicts Mr Alexander Jr behind the wheel of a Ford Model T.

Chris Robinson, chairman of the Fort William Ford Model T project, said: “I am very satisfied, even a bit emotional. The quality of the statue from Powderhall – who are a great team – is fantastic.

“A great day was had by all and it really is a great gift to the town. The general consensus from everybody has been that it is a stunning sculpture and the level of detail is quite remarkable.”

The only surviving grandson of Mr Alexander Jr, Mike Munro, was on hand to unveil the statue in Cameron Square.

A new bronze trail was also launched over the weekend, showcasing Lochaber’s beautiful bronze statues. The model aluminium worker in Inverlochy and the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge are also included in the route, aimed at encouraging more people to learn and explore the culture and heritage Lochaber has to offer.

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