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Find out why a Norwich sporting hero has been honoured with a statue in Sweden

PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 September 2012

Picture shows speedway star Ove Fundin for Derek James page
For EN

Picture shows speedway star Ove Fundin for Derek James page For EN

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A statue honouring the man many regard as the greatest sporting hero ever to have represented Norwich has been unveiled in Sweden.

A large crowd gathered in Tranas as a cavalcade of motorcyles heralded the arrival at the ceremony of the one and only Ove Fundin who still regards Norwich as his second home.

“I love the city and I love the people,” said the former five-times world champion, who thrilled speedway followers for 10 years when the man they called The Flying Fox was the king of The Firs.

The statue, showing Ove riding what was known as the Norwich “track spare” takes pride of place in Ove’s home town where he is also regarded as a hero. He was surrounded by family and friends for the unveiling of the impressive bronze sculpture made by Richard Brixel, a Swedish artist, who has also made one of racing driver Michael Schumacher.

He worked from photographs sent by Norwich speedway historian and author Mike Kemp.

Among the guests who attended the ceremony was former Norwich Lord Mayor and the man who campaigned for Ove to be made a Freeman of the City, Roy Blower.

Roy was in Tranas with his wife Beryl and other guests from around the world, including another Norwich favourite speedway rider Olle Nygren.

Roy told the people: “It is a privilege and an honour to be here.” He explained how Ove was still regarded as a hero in Norwich and he recalled the time when hundreds of people queued outside Jarrold’s for Ove to sign their copy of his book.

“Walking across Norwich Market to City Hall before he was made a Freeman took some time. Everybody remembered and wanted to speak to him,” said Roy.

Ove arrived in Norwich as a fresh-faced young rider in the 1950s. It was Aussie Aub Lawson who persuaded him to come to the city. Quiet and modest off the track, he was fearless and ruthless on it. He proved himself to be the best rider in the world and he wore the Norwich Star with such pride.

“The Norwich fans were good to me and will never forget them,” said Ove – and they knew that when Ove was flying – no one in the world could touch him.

After retiring from speedway he built up a large haulage business and now lives in the South of France.

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