Wigan to honour Lord of the Rings actor Sir Ian McKellen with star in town centre

Sir Ian McKellen is to be honoured by his childhood hometown of Wigan with a star in Believe Square.

The 75-year-old Burnley-born actor, best known as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, lived in Greater Manchester from the age of three until he was 11.

Sir Ian revealed he was drawn towards acting by watching the town’s market traders and the Frank Fortescue Players at the now-defunct Hippodrome.

“I am looking forward to returning to Wigan, which holds so many special memories, for this honour,” he said.

“It will be fascinating to see how the town has developed since 1951, when our family moved to Bolton. If only the Hippodrome was still there.”

The Lord of the Rings star will return to Wigan this summer to accept his accolade at a celebration of his career which has spanned more than half a century.

Also known for stage performances in Macbeth, Othello, Richard III and King Lear, he was knighted in 1991 for services to the performing arts.

Wigan Council leader Lord Peter Smith said there were ‘few better ambassadors’ for the town that the great actor.

“It is an immense privilege for Wigan Council to bestow this honour on a great actor of film and theatre,” said Lord Smith.

“Sir Ian McKellen is rightly one of this town’s most loved sons who has brought the magic of stage and screen to life to so many people around the world.”

Believe Square was unveiled in 2013 initially to celebrate the sporting achievements of the town’s rugby league and football clubs.

Current Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who won the FA Cup with Wigan Athletic in 2013, has also been awarded a star.

Other local personalities who have been honoured include writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie, athlete Jenny Meadows, and pioneering heart surgeon Dr Nayyar Naqvi.

Image courtesy of Channel 4, with thanks.

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