Khun Vichai statue

Khun Vichai Statue Unveiled In Emotional Filbert Way Occasion

Leicester City’s football family came together on Monday for the inauguration of the Khun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha statue at King Power Stadium – an eternal tribute to the most influential figure in the Football Club’s 138-year history.
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On what would have been Khun Vichai’s 64th birthday, current Leicester City Chairman Khun Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha and his family were joined by distinguished guests to celebrate Khun Vichai’s Leicester legacy.

Dignitaries including Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Mike Kapur; Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Colonel Murray Colville; Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand, Mr Pisanu Suvanajata; Lord Mayor of Leicester, Councillor Deepak Bajaj; City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby; and High Sheriff, Mehmooda Duke were among those in attendance, along with local faith leaders including Bishop of Leicester, The Right Revd Martyn Snow; and Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith.

Appropriately connecting the city of Leicester with Khun Vichai’s homeland for the occasion, a group of his close friends were also present, at the invitation of the Srivaddhanaprabha family, along with friends from the worlds of polo, horse racing and Belgian club Oud-Heverlee Leuven.

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Khun Vichai Statue Inauguration Ceremony
Khun Vichai Statue Inauguration Ceremony

The current Leicester City first team squad, led to a maiden FA Cup success in 2021 by Brendan Rodgers, were joined by members of the 2016 Premier League title-winning team and former managers Nigel Pearson, Claudio Ranieri and Craig Shakespeare. Leicester City representation was completed by Directors, senior and long-serving Club staff, former Chairmen and iconic former players.

Khun Vichai passed away alongside staff members Kaveporn Punpare and Nusara Suknamai, and pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Lechowicz, in a tragic helicopter accident at the home of Leicester City in October 2018.

Representatives of Leicestershire Police, Leicestershire Fire & Rescue and East Midlands Ambulance Service, who played such pivotal roles in the community response to the accident, were also present on an emotional occasion.

Chief Executive Susan Whelan – a close friend and colleague of Khun Vichai – opened proceedings, before Khun Top unveiled the statue of his father in front of a crowd of family and friends.

Susan said: "Khun Vichai loved this city. He greatly appreciated the affection shown by the people of Leicester and recognised how this community believed in his vision.

"Today, his contribution to the Club and to the city is made eternal. For generations to come, people will stand in this place and tell stories of The Possible Man. They will speak of his leadership and ambition, but also of his generosity and kindness. However this site changes, in all the moments we will experience together, his presence will be permanent."

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Khun Vichai Statue Inauguration Ceremony
Khun Vichai Statue Inauguration Ceremony

Commissioned by the Srivaddhanaprabha family, the Khun Vichai statue is a permanent embodiment of his magnificent legacy in a place which brought him so much personal joy.

The statue inauguration ceremony was led by Buddhist monks, who travelled to Leicester from Thailand at the request of the Srivaddhanaprabha family. Such ceremonies have become customary at King Power Stadium during the family’s ownership of the Club, particularly at the start of a new season and for the inauguration of landmark developments, including LCFC Training Ground in Seagrave and the Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Garden.

The ceremony commenced with the lighting of candles and incense, before the reading of Sanskrit prayers by the Buddhist monks. A string stretching the length of the ceremony room, representing the Buddha, was then blessed from a golden bowl with candle wax to create holy water. 

Afterwards, the monks bestowed five precepts – constituting a basic code of ethics in Buddhism – upon the head of the ceremony. Buddhist chanting then began, marking the start of the Matrix funeral chant.

Guests were later invited to offer yellow robes to the monks, in accordance with Bangsukul ceremony traditions, and to transfer love and goodwill to Khun Vichai. Bangsukul chanting continued, before the ceremony concluded with the pouring of water to dedicate merit to all. 

With his unwavering dedication and ceaseless passion for the Club, the story Khun Vichai inspired at King Power Stadium delighted millions around the world. 

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Khun Vichai Statue Inauguration Ceremony
Khun Vichai Statue Inauguration Ceremony

Establishing Leicester City among the game’s elite was only part of Khun Vichai’s gift to Leicester, whose communities came to love and admire his frequent displays of generosity.

He invested in their football club, delivering experiences that brought the people of the city together in pride and celebration. Through his countless acts of compassion and philanthropy, he sought to make their city a better place.

Such values will remain at the heart of the Club’s work for generations to come, forming a key part of Khun Vichai’s legacy, under the guidance of his son and current Chairman Khun Top.

In future, as the people of this city continue to come together at the Khun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha statue at King Power Stadium, they will be greeted by a tribute to a truly great man – an everlasting reminder of what he gave to the Club and to Leicester.

Following the inauguration ceremony on Monday, the Khun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha statue at King Power Stadium will be accessible to supporters from Tuesday 5 April.

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