Way back in May, we posted about the three final photos chosen of club legend Nat Lofthouse to be incorporated in the memorial garden. Those photos were then sent on to Nat's family, who had the final say in which one would be the basis for the statue. It was announced today that they have chosen the iconic image of Lofty leading the team out, carrying the ball, at Burnden Park, as he did so many times over his 14 year playing career with the Wanderers.
Nat's daughter, Vivien, spoke on behalf of the family about their decision,
"We want to thank the people of Bolton for the money they have generously given so far and for the images they have chosen of dad. It was a long process selecting the final image, because each was so significant, so a lot of thought has been put into the choice. We felt that this one summed up dad.
"Week in week out he led the Wanderers, he loved the club, the fans and for us as a family it is especially poignant bearing in mind dad's last words were: 'I've got the ball now, it's a bit worn, but I've got it'.
"We are delighted by all the work that has gone into thinking about the garden surrounding the statue and how it incorporates the fans and their families."
In our poll on the subject when the final three images were released, 72% of readers voted the image of Nat being held aloft by teammates with the FA Cup after the team's victory in 1958 as their favourite, while the image of him leading the team out was actually the least favourite with only 12% of the votes. However, the other two images will still be incorporated in the garden as large bronze reliefs, and the stoic stance Lofthouse has in the chosen image is the best for a statue. The legend's moving last words will be incorporated in the statue's inscription.
Club chaplain Phil Mason also voice his approval on the final decision by the family
"The chosen image seems the most fitting for all the reasons outlined by the family and particularly suited to Nat's final words. I am very pleased that we are able to use all three images that were chosen by the people of Bolton."
We couldn't agree more, and the memorial garden seems to be shaping up to be an incredibly fitting and touching tribute to the club's greatest player.