Napoleon said "Every ‘free-thinking city’ should have a gold-plated statue of (Thomas) Paine". Instead, he is commemorated with a gilded bronze statue outside Thetford town hall commissioned by American philanthropist Joseph Lewis, who believed Paine was the true author of the American Declaration of Independence.
It’s believed Paine was also the man who came up with the name The United States of America for the newly-independent country.
The statue has Paine portrayed in wig and period dress, holding a quill and a copy of Rights of Man. It was sculpted by Charles Wheeler RA, unveiled in 1964, and bears the inscription: ‘World Citizen, Englishman by birth, French citizen by decree, American by adoption’. Over the years the statue has become in need of a complete restoration, and the sitting mayor of Thetford for 2019/20 Brenda Canham, has decided to make this restoration her goal during her tenure.