War of words rages over Harry statue

THE sculptor who created Alnwick’s 14ft-tall Harry Hotspur statue has said it would be a ‘tragedy’ if the monument is not looked after.

Last week, the Gazette reported that Alnwick Town Council had voted against a request to adopt the statue, at Pottergate, after the demise of the town’s development trust.

When the trust went into administration last month, a number of assets were due to be handed over to the town council.

But with a one-vote margin, councillors refused to take on the statue.

Now Keith Maddison, the sculptor who created the bronze masterpiece, has said he doesn’t want it to go to rack and ruin.

“I am a bit disappointed that the town council hasn’t seen fit to take it on,” he said.

“I would have thought it was a logical step.

“The maintenance costs of the statue are negligible.

“It would be a tragedy if it is just ignored and nobody really takes care of it. It would be a bizarre situation.

“I wouldn’t have said the financial commitment was going to be an amount that people would feel justified in complaining about.”

The article in last week’s paper has prompted a stream of letters, as well as a debate on the Gazette website.

In one comment, user Retro said: “The council should be ashamed of itself.

“This is now one of the town’s fixed features and attractions, it is always being visited and the council has a clear duty to look after it.

“Some of these new councillors have got some learning to do about their responsibilities to the wider community.

“They are not there just to indulge their own personal whims and prejudices.”

But others were in support of the council’s decision.

HotsuprSchmotspur (sic) said they don’t want taxpayers’ money ‘supporting dodgy community art when my income is going down and everything else is going up’.

Longhoughton Coun John Taylor said: “Harry Hotspur is part of the history of England as well as Alnwick and it is fitting that there is a memorial for him in the Percy power seat.”