Mudlarkers have one final opportunity to get names on statue

Margaret Foster next to a memorial statue to Mudlarkers at The Hard, Portsmouth
Margaret Foster next to a memorial statue to Mudlarkers at The Hard, Portsmouth

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A LAST call is being made for people to come forward with their stories of mudlarkers, as a third plaque is being planned to remember the tradition.

There are already two plaques at The Hard, Portsea, containing names of people who once entertained passers-by scavenging in the mud off The Hard in return for coins.

The last plaque, containing 30 names of mudlarkers, was fitted to the Mudlarkers’ Statue in January.

The project was led by former Lib Dem councillor Margaret Foster – who was a mudlarker in her youth – who wrote a book about the tradition called The Mudlarkers.

She said she was so pleased with the response, she is now looking for names to fill a third plaque.

She said: ‘The council has now agreed for us to have one last plaque as so many people came forward last time.

‘On the new plaque, we have room for 50 names and I have already had at least 20 people contact me so far.

‘This is the very last chance that people will get.’

Plans are in place for another ceremony to mark the unveiling of the plaque, which will also be fitted to the existing Mudlarkers’ Statue, which is just outside the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard gates.

The statue itself was created by Hayling Island sculptor Michael Peacock and was cast in bronze at the Morris Singer foundry in Braintree, Essex. It was unveiled in March 2010 after a 10-year fundraising campaign by local residents.

The previous plaque unveiling saw people come from all over – including Keith Kneller who was born in Portsea and now lives in Australia.

Mrs Foster said: ‘It has been fabulous and I can’t thank the council enough for their support.

‘After our story went out about the last plaque, people contacted me from all over the world. The word is getting out and places are filling up fast.’

To get involved call Mrs Foster on 07845 194905. To have a name added to the plaque costs £50.