Call to get Kingsley's statue cleaned up
By North Devon Journal | Thursday, September 06, 2012, 07:30
A CALL has been made for a Bideford statue to be moved to Westward Ho! if no action is taken to clean it.
Richard Mann, 78, who lives in East-the-Water said he was appalled at the state of Charles Kingsley's statue, which stands outside Victoria Park.
The statue of the renowned 19th century author, who wrote the novel Westward Ho! and The Water Babies, has been there since it was erected in 1906 but Mr Mann said the state of the statue now puts off holiday makers.
He said: "It would seem that our earlier town elders recognised the value of Bideford being mentioned in the first sentence of this famous book written by a much-loved author.
"They erected an impressive statue of him close to the river where he does indeed appear to look west.
"But now his face would seem to indicate that he is suffering from an appalling skin disease.
"What has Charles Kingsley done to deserve this neglect?
"If Bideford does not want to care for him why not move him to Westward Ho! — I am sure they would welcome the statue with open arms.
"I am sure it must put people off from staying in the town because it gives such a bad impression.
"Bideford just doesn't make the best use of its attractions.
"I used to live in Oxford and that wouldn't happen there.
"I have friends from other countries who come and visit and I don't like to take them off to the side streets of Bideford because it is in such a bad state."
Bideford town councillor and historian Peter Christie confirmed the last time the statue had been cleaned was in the 1970s by Sea Scouts.
Mr Christie said: "It is something we are looking at but it is taking a while, it has been discussed for over a year so hopefully we can get it cleaned soon."
"Now his face would seem to indicate that he is suffering from an appalling skin disease."