A WEST Yorkshire artistic creator is hoping that his life-sized statue of Captain Sir Tom Moore can take up permanent residence in the county.

Tony Clark, who is from Colton, Leeds, created the sculpture, along with fellow creative and friend Keith Sharratt, in honour of the Keighley-born fundraiser, who passed away on Tuesday.

Tony, 44, said he thought it would be "fitting" to raise money from the statue - which was completed in October and has been named 'The Walk of Hope' - following Captain Tom's death.

He has set a target of £60,000, with 10 per cent of the money raised going to The Captain Tom Foundation.

Tony and Keith want Captain Tom's family to make the decision on where the statue will be unveiled, although Tony says his "personal preference" would be for it to be in West Yorkshire.

"People have said it could be unveiled in Keighley, as that's Captain Tom's hometown. It would be great for it to be in Yorkshire, but I'm more than happy to let his family decide", said Tony.

"We decided to create the statue in April, but when we'd finished, we didn't know what to do with it. But after his death, we thought we would use it to raise money."

Tony - who made a similar sculpture of Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa in March 2020, raising £9,700 for the Mind mental health charity - says his career "before all of this" involved design and buying and selling furniture.

When creating his Bielsa statue, Tony felt an "old passion for design" return, before Keith suggested that he turn his attention to the "inspirational" Captain Tom.

"That’s where it began, really. It took around two months to create Captain Tom in clay, from clay you make a mold, then create him in resin, then we cast him in bronze and the team build him up, weld him together and finish it", he said.

"It's expensive and time-consuming, but it's all about being able to create something and take your mind elsewhere."

Tony survived the 2002 Bali bombings - although physically unhurt, he was mentally scarred by the ordeal. He sees art as a therapeutic escape.

"It takes me away from stress, whether it's lockdown, or the bad things you read in the papers. It's a brilliant distraction", he said.

Tony added that Captain Tom's death was "tragic news", but said he was "one of the icons of the Covid pandemic".

"He made people feel positive and brought people together. His achievements were remarkable", he said.

Tony's website is clarksculptures.com and his fundraising page can be found by searching 'Captain Sir Tom Moore Bronze Statue' on GoFundMe.