Diary: Campaign launched to replace fountain with Tommy Fong statue

Tommy Fong at the doorway of the Willow, in this great photograph by Ceri Oakes
29 Jul 2015 @ 9.33 pm
| News

We’ve got a dry fountain that just gets in the way. Meanwhile the city is bereft after the loss of its unique nightspot, the Willow.

Now some bright spot has put these two things together and come up with a genius solution.

Knock down the Parliament Street fountain and erect a statue of Willow owner Tommy Fong in its place.

Clinton Reeve started the petition on Wednesday (July 29) and five hours in it had garnered 42 signatures.

Why? This is what Clinton writes on the Change.org petition page:

Because Tommy Fong is a living legend who was the owner of The Willow before it was closed down

It was open since 1937 served cheap shots, chests music and free prawn crackers and made generations of students in the city very happy. He did a lot of good in the city of York and should be remembered.

We’re not exactly certain what “chests music” is but we are fully behind the sentiment.

As are these people who added their signatures…

Tommy is a legendary figure in York’s night life. He’s like the Santa of disco 🙂

– Jamie Orchard

Aesthetically it would be a great looking statue in the town and people might be blessed with good luck if they stroked the moustache.

– Warren Keefe

The fountain is sh*t and Tommy is a legend

– Lucy Wallace

And the most eloquent of all the reasons –


– Lucy Twyman

And if you’re not persuaded, watch this video of Tommy Fong’s leaving speech.

Delivered in the early hours of Monday (July 27), minutes before the Willow closed for good, Tommy gives a speech worthy of any of our great orators.

The Willow’s been here since 1936. Before the Second World War. The Nazis couldn’t destroy it. Nobody could destroy it. Apart from you know who!

Clinton Cards are taking over. So you can get your cards from Clintons instead of becoming The Willow customer.

So what do you think of Clinton Cards?

At this stage the booing clubbers are about ready to tear down to the nearest Clintons with burning torches.

But Tommy finishes with a thank you to all his customers before the cheesiest tune of them all, Sinatra’s New York, New York becomes the last played at the Willow.

If anyone is in any doubt about the cultural impact of the Willow, just look at the waves made by its closure.

It has been featured in a Guardian article entitled Farewell, The Willow — the Berghain of York.

And it was trending on Buzzfeed for a while, which offered 19 Reasons The Willow Was The Greatest “Nightclub” The World Will Ever See.

But remember where you heard the news first.

Now though, the Willow has gone forever. Oh York, what have we done?