Composer Benjamin Britten to be honoured with a statue outside his childhood home

22 May 2024, 16:07 | Updated: 22 May 2024, 17:03

Britten as a Boy
Britten as a Boy. Picture: Courtesy of Zeb Soanes
Classic FM

By Classic FM

Classic FM’s Zeb Soanes is joined by leading musicians in his campaign to install a statue of much-loved composer Benjamin Britten on the seafront in Lowestoft.

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Benjamin Britten composed some of the most compelling music of the last century, from operas Peter Grimes and Billy Budd to his much-loved Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.

Born in 1913 in Lowestoft, East Suffolk, Britten drew powerful musical inspiration from his childhood by the sea, and is cited as saying at age 16, “What bliss is home”.

To honour the great composer, Classic FM’s Zeb Soanes is raising funds to install a life-sized statue of Britten on the seafront opposite the composer’s childhood home.

The statue, which has been crafted by royal sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, will depict Britten as a boy, at the tender age when his talent was recognised. Once installed, it will be dedicated and gifted to the children of Lowestoft, inspiring future generations.

“This statue is as much about providing hope and aspiration as commemorating my hometown’s great son,” said Zeb, who presents Relaxing Evenings from 7pm, weekdays on Classic FM.

“When Britten was made a freeman of Lowestoft in 1951, he declared: ‘As an artist, I want to serve the community.’ I believe, 70 years later, he would be delighted that this image of his young self, cast in bronze, will continue to do that for 1,000 years to come.”

Zeb Soanes and royal sculptor Ian Rank Broadley
Zeb Soanes and royal sculptor Ian Rank Broadley. Picture: Courtesy of Zeb Soanes

Since launching the campaign in 2021, Zeb has since raised £92,000 of the £120,000 target, through fundraisers and concerts including a celebration at Wigmore Hall which raised one sixth of the total.

“We need your help to get us over the finish line!” Zeb said.

Supporters of the statue range from singers Dame Janet Baker and Sir Thomas Allen to Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes – and even the composer’s great-nieces and patrons of Britten as a Boy statue, Sophie and Tamara Britten.

“We hope the Britten as a Boy statue will inspire future generations of Lowestoft children to think big and follow their dreams,” the Brittens added.

Sir Thomas Allen said, “With the figure of the young boy, looking out to sea, it’s possible to see the nature of a special lad at such an early stage of his life, a portent of what was to come and the brilliance of the man to whom we owe so much.”

The Britten as a Boy project has also developed educational resources for all schools about Britten’s childhood, which can be downloaded from All the ways to lend your support can be found at