A CELEBRITY chef who helped bring a major art installation to Trafalgar Square has lent her backing to a similar project in Hove.

Prue Leith, the restaurateur and cookery writer, said Hove Plinth could be a fifth to the four plinths in London's famous public square.

More than £10,000 has so far been donated towards the Hove Civic Society's project that will see changing displays of sculpture on a column by the seafront.

Miss Leith said: "I am very excited to see that the ideas behind the Fourth Plinth are being taken forward in Hove.

"A 'Fifth' plinth showcasing sculpture against the backdrop of the sea is a wonderful idea and I congratulate the Hove Civic Society on their efforts and wish them success in bringing the project to fruition."

Miss Leith was chair of Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce when she set in motion the campaign that led to sculptures being displayed on the empty fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Backers of the Hove project say the city needs to maintain its reputation for arts and culture and entice more visitors.

Dick Knight, Life President of Brighton and Hove Albion football club, said: “Everyone who loves our seafront should help Hove Plinth become a reality.

“It will be the platform for some stunning creativity in the years to come and always brilliantly remind people – visitor and resident – that our city has a unique and lasting style.”

Organisers are urging people to keep on donating to reach their goal of £35,000, and they hope to have the first sculpture in place in 2017.

The first sculptures will be Escape by Matthew James Davis, Flight of the Langoustines by Pierre Diamantopoulo, and Constellation by Jonathan Wright. The first one to go up has not been confirmed.

They will stay on the plinth for 12-18 months before moving to permanent sites in the city, it is planned.

Rewards on offer for donations include art materials, sculpture workshops, and preparatory sketches of the first sculptures.

Brighton artist Kellie Miller said: "Brighton and Hove has had too few cultural initiatives over the years and the visual arts are poorly represented.

“The city needs year-round events for the arts."