Sunday, 29 August 2010

Thoughts while pondering Steve Ovett's foot . . .

One of the last acts of plunder in Preston Park, the removal in 2007 of the bronze statue of Olympic 800m champion Steve Ovett by sawing it off at the foot. It was well reported at the time, but has an interesting link with an earlier act of vandalism, namely the illegal felling of mature trees just across the London Road on the vacant Anston House site. The unnecessary loss of these trees caused much indignation among local residents, but certain denizens of the alternative, unwaged society took it upon themselves to move in and set up a "Protest the Trees" camp. This involved decrepit caravans, makeshift tents, bonfires and much miscellaneous rubbish.

After the statue disappeared,  the police visited the Anston House site, recovered most of the statue in pieces, and charged a 44 year-old female person, of no fixed address, with possession.  One of the pieces nestled in the remains of  a bonfire, where attempts had apparently been made to melt it down, this neatly demonstrating perhaps why the miscreant was unwaged.

The pieces of the statue were returned to local sculptor Tim Webster whose work it was. Mr Webster  estimated it would cost £30,000 to recreate it. The illegal felling eventually came to court and the owners were fined £30,000 (+£4,000 costs). The female miscreant was simply cautioned.

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