Warm reception as 10ft sculpture is unveiled as part of Fareham twinning celebrations

A CONTROVERSIAL new sculpture received a warm reception from councillors and dignitaries after its unveiling.

Tuesday, 13th September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 4:47 pm
The sculpture being unveiled in the grounds of Westbury Manor Museum. Picture: Sarah Standing (161278-6906)

Following HMS Collingwood’s march through Fareham’s town centre yesterday, the £17,600 sculpture was finally revealed to a round of applause in the gardens of Westbury Manor Museum.

The 10ft sculpture of a tree with two intertwined trunks has faced criticism in recent months after its initial designs were criticised by the Fareham-Vannes Twinning Association.

However, the response was fairly positive after Councillor Connie Hockley, mayor of Fareham and Marcel Boche, president of the Vannes Twinning Association pulled back a blue curtain to show off the creation.

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Chris Gorham, chairman of the twinning association said: ‘I think it looks mighty fine to say the least.

‘It is suitable permanent memento in a great setting.

‘The council has done a great thing by honouring the town’s twinning with these celebrations.’

Mr Boche was inspired upon pulling back the curtain to reveal the sculpture and gave a speech following the unveiling in which he said it was ‘magnificent’ and ‘a real pleasure’ to witness.

The statue was originally proposed to be placed in the Sensory Garden of Reflection in Osborn Road, however, Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, which paid for the sculpture, decided to move it.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘It looks great and it tells a story of the two towns so I think it will be a very welcome addition to the garden.

‘Just from looking at it now I can see that it will fit in well in the garden.’

Councillor Trevor Cartwright, deputy leader of the borough council, was also impressed by the new statue.

He said: ‘It is quite interesting to behold.

‘It is very different and offers something new for residents to have a look at so it is a fitting addition.’

Other criticisms aimed at the statue previously include the costs involved in creating it and a lack of public consultation on the choice of building it with Councillor Chris Wood branding it ‘a vanity project’.