Businessman puts landmark 1.5-tonne wooden Buddha up for sale

HAVE you always dreamed of becoming the proud owner of a one-and-a-half-tonne wooden Buddha?

Saturday, 10th February 2018, 6:00 am
The giant Buddha statue for sale at the former Bahn Thai, Wickham Road, Fareham. Picture: Habibur Rahman

If so, you’re in luck. Geoffrey Townley has one for sale after closing his Bahn Thai restaurant, which is reopening as a Brazilian steakhouse.

Geoffrey is offering the Buddha, which is painted gold, for the right price.

The solid timber Buddha, currently sitting in Wickham Road, Fareham, weighs around one-and-a-half tonnes and is just under 7ft tall and 4ft wide.

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Geoffrey said: ‘We’ve had lots of interest and the sign hasn’t been up for more than a day.’

He added: ‘A Buddha doesn’t have any correlation (with the new restaurant) so it feels like the right time to sell it on.

‘Despite its weight, moving the statue isn’t a problem – I’ve spent my life building big heavy boats.’

Keen traveller Geoffrey, who has lived in Bishop’s Waltham for 35 years, picked up the Buddha in Bali.

Geoffrey, a boat builder, said: ‘I worked at Portchester Dock but the job took me across the globe.

‘I travelled to Indonesia, Java and Bali five times a year.

‘I remember spotting these large, beautiful Buddhas in a timber yard in Bali.

‘I wanted two as I thought they’d be perfect for my garden. They’re very soothing. The problem was that it took me four attempts to get them.

‘Each time they made one for me, they would sell it to somebody else.

‘When I found out the company were making another two, I decided to pay them a visit.

‘When I arrived at the courtyard I saw two men with enormous chainsaws, carving the Buddhas. Quite a sight.’

After securing them, the businessman had to face the challenge of shipping the massive statues from Bali to England.

He said: ‘I knew shipping would be very difficult.

‘I rented a lorry and we transported them back in containers, with some other furniture we’d bought in Semarang. It took 12 hours.’

Geoffrey later decided that he wanted to introduce the flavours of Thailand to Fareham.

‘Soon enough, Bahn Thai was born,’ he said. ‘A Buddha is the kind of thing you expect to see at a Thai restaurant so I moved one to the site and built a shrine for it to sit in.

‘People loved it.’

Geoffrey still has the other Buddha in his garden at home.