• Kia Fullerton

Black actor Alfred Fagon's statue damaged in Bristol

A statue of Jamaican poet, playwright and actor Alfred Fagon has been covered with what seems to be a corrosive substance.

The monument based in St Pauls, Bristol, was established in 1987 on the first anniversary of his death and Mr Fagon was the first black person to have a statue erected in the city.

However, reports have been made to the police and are investigating the matter due to criminal damage and inquiries being made to the statue.

Avon and Somerset Police said it was working with Bristol City Council to establish ownership of the statue and to determine if it had suffered any permanent damage.

It is believed damage was caused after Black Lives Matter protesters tore down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol last weekend.

Mr Fagon's sister-in-law, Judy Malone-Fagon, said if it was vandalism, it was "ignorant and idiotic".

"It's the only statue to a black person in Bristol, who would do something like that? It's shocking. Alfred didn't do anything to anyone but he would definitely have laughed at it, he was so much bigger and better than that," she said.

Anton Phillips, an actor and friend of Mr Fagon, said following the action of the Colston statue it "doesn't surprise me".

"My memory of Alfred is he quite liked to laugh at things," he said.

Alfred Fagon was born in Jamaica in 1937 and came to England at the age of 18, to work on the railways before joining the army and then moving to Bristol to work as a welder in the 1960s.

Mr Fagon is well known for his plays, No Soldiers in St Pauls which explored the social tension between the police and the black community in Bristol during the 1970s.

His final role was in the BBC's Fighting Back, set in St Pauls, as he later died suddenly from a heart attack in 1986 outside his flat in Camberwell, London.

But his legacy still lives goes on, as The annual Alfred Fagon Award was named after him and is commended for playwrights of Afro-Caribbean descent in the UK.

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