25 years ago this week: Friday, March 21, 1986

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THE smashing of an 80-year-old landmark by vandals has angered villagers at Whittingham.

The midnight attack on the statue of the Third Earl of Ravensworth and his dog, which has been a central feature of the village since 1905, has prompted renewed calls for more police cover.

The heads and hands of the monument were removed in the incident on Monday night. The present Lord Ravensworth’s son, Mr Thomas Liddell, immediately offered a reward for the immediate return of the precious pieces.

“We are very upset about it and so are some of the villagers,” said Lord Ravensworth on Tuesday. “It is a tragedy.”

The original statue was erected by the widow of the third earl but was completely destroyed by vandals and had to be replaced in 1968. A Newcastle sculptor spent two weeks carving the figures from a single block of stone hewn at a quarry near Otterburn. Mr Harry Brownlee was 34 then – now he owns the company who employed him.

Contacted by the Gazette, he was sad to hear of the damage to his masterpiece but said he would be happy to repair it himself if necessary. He had not set eyes on the monument since 1968 until last year.