A STATUE celebrating one of the borough's best known daughters has been given the seal of approval by a government minister.

Culture minister Margot James was welcomed to Basingstoke by Maria Miller and together they visited the Jane Austen statue in Market Place, unveiled last year to mark 200 years since the author’s death.

The minister said: “It was wonderful to visit Basingstoke and see this beautiful sculpture-it is so fitting to see this Author’s life in Basingstoke captured in a lasting memorial.”

Mrs Miller, who worked with the Hampshire Cultural Trust to bring the project to fruition, said; “Jane Austen is a writer of worldwide repute. Born in the borough, she is a woman who broke the mould in her generation.

"I am delighted that she is recognized in a sculpture by Adam Roud. It is a fitting tribute to her status not just as a local writer, but as one of the finest and most-loved authors the world has known.

“My desire to create a lasting memorial to Jane Austen in her home Borough unveiled some staggering truths. There are no public Statues of this much loved author. Basingstoke is delighted to make sure Jane is recognised not only in the borough but celebrates being home to the first sculpture of this world famous writer.”