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Petition Launched to Erect Ronnie James Dio Statue in Birth Town Portsmouth

Ronnie James Dio
Mary Ouellette, SheWillShootYou.com

The legendary Ronnie James Dio was born in Portsmouth, N.H. and one local is seeking to commemorate the singer’s talent and musical contributions with a statue of the icon. Brian Kelly, administrator of the “Keep Portsmouth Loud” website has launched a petition in hopes of seeing his ambitions come to light.

“We would like to set the statue in Prescott Park, the heart of the arts in Portsmouth, honoring the legacy of this influential man. Preferably there would be a water feature on this memorialization considering our strong maritime tradition. We believe it should be constructed of metal (naturally). We would defer to the artists for all decisions, of course, and we are open to discussion,” reads the statement on the change.org page where the petition is being hosted.

What will the statue look like? Kelly has already envisioned how he would like to memorialize Dio, stating, “We would love to see him to be depicted as he was in the video for ‘Holy Diver,’ sword in hand, ready to fight for the arts and what is right. We understand this might not coincide with the wishes of all, so we will of course work with the estate of Mr. Dio to determine how they would like him depicted.”

“I’m a fan of Ronnie James Dio and I’m a fan of Portsmouth. He’s a real hero to people who were disenfranchised, or were not the cool kids in high school,” Kelly said to Seacoast Online. The petition has already picked up steam as it seeks to generate 1,000 signatures. Comments have been positive, including Russ Grazier, the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center director, who left a note saying, “I’ve heard worse ideas. The thought of children climbing on the back of Ronnie James Dio next to the whale statue warms my metal heart. Make it so.” Another supporter was dismayed this hasn’t happened already, lamenting, “It’s shameful that all previous generations have left this for us to do.”

Since Ronnie’s death in May of 2010, fans around the world continue to show their undying support for the metal legend. Statues have been erected in his honor and benefit and tribute shows have been booked, many of which donated the proceeds to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. The organization recently held an street party event in California, celebrating the life and work of the beloved musician. Dio Disciples, Gabbie Rae, Budderside and The Loveless performed at the March 5 event. Meanwhile, the 2nd Annual Ride for Ronnie Motorcycle Rally & Concert will take place May 22, leaving from Harley Davidson in Glendale, Calif. at 11AM en route to Los Encinos Park in Encino, Calif. Visit the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund website for more details.

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