Battle to Keep Elgar on the Pounds 20 Note

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Byline: By Jonathan Walker Political Editor

Inspired by the Worcestershire countryside, Edward Elgar became England's most celebrated composer.

His connection with the region is symbolised by statues in Worcester, Hereford and Malvern.

Now, the region's MPs are fighting to ensure Elgar's contributions are celebrated by keeping him on the pounds 20 note.

MPs from Herefordshire and Worcestershire have joined forces with the chairman of the Elgar Foundation to keep the composer in place until after his 150th anniversary celebrations next year.

Elgar, the son of a Worcester piano tuner, is due to disappear from the note from spring and be replaced by Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith.

A House of Commons motion has been tabled calling for the composer of the Enigma Variations and the Pomp and Circumstances Marches to remain as the face of the pounds 20 note until 2008.

It has been signed by Peter Luff, Tory MP for Mid-Worcestershire, Sir Michael Spicer, Tory MP for West Worcestershire, Bill Wiggin, Tory MP for Leominster and, Paul Keetch, Lib Dem MP for Hereford, as well as Peter Ainsworth, Tory MP for East Surrey and chair of the Elgar Foundation.

Worcester MP Mike Foster (Lab) has written to Mervyn King, the Bank of England Governor, urging him not to let the picture of Elgar and Worcester Cathedral stay.

Mr Luff said he accepted that bank note designs were changed on a regular basis but this was the wrong time to replace Elgar.

He said: "Mr Ainsworth and I are trying to persuade people to do much more to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Elgar's birth - and then we are undermined by this extraordinary decision of the Bank of England."

Edward William Elgar was born in the small village of Lower Broadheath outside Worcester, Worcestershire, to William Elgar and his wife Ann. …