SCARBORIANS have called for a philanthropic pensioner to be honoured by the council after she acquired a giant sculpture for the town.
Generous Maureen Robinson, of Malvern Crescent, shocked the town on Friday by buying the £48,000 Ray Lonsdale-fashioned Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers statue in the North Bay.
The gesture has received widespread praise, and some residents are urging Scarborough Council to bestow the Freedom of the Borough on Mrs Robinson.
Heather Franklin, owner of Headers barbers shop in Aberdeen Walk, is one of those leading calls for the honour. She has stuck up a “Thank You Mrs Robinson” sign in her shop window.
She said: “All my customers absolutely love it, and it’s just a really nice thing that she’s done.
“I’ve never even met her before but I just thought it would be a nice way of showing mine and my customers’ gratitude. It’s hard to say thank you but thankfully I have a shop window to do it with.”
Resident Charles Jameson thanked Mrs Robinson and her husband Michael for “their wonderful gift to the people of Scarborough”, adding: “Maybe our councillors will consider an award to them, maybe Freedom of the Borough for giving us all such pleasure.”
Mrs Robinson told the Evening News that she’s “still recovering” from Friday, which she said was “one of the most amazing days of my life”.
She added: “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have this reaction. Strangers have been coming up to me in the street asking ‘Did you buy the statue?’. Everybody seems so thrilled that it’s not going away.”
Mrs Robinson said that after talks with the council, she is confident the statue will gain the necessary planning permission that would allow it to stay in its current location, albeit a few feet back.
And she has received a special thanks from local woman Jakki Wilby, who had started a campaign to make the statue a permanent fixture in Scarborough.
Mrs Robinson said: “I saw her in the street. She came over and gave me a big hug. We were all in tears.”
Commenters on the Evening News website have also praised the gesture. ‘Harry’ said: “What a marvellous example of good, old-fashioned philanthropy.”
‘Scarborough Compass’ called the statue “a great asset for a town so short of public art that can bring people to the town.”
And ‘Sir Elton John’ said: “That’s my Woman of the Year sorted then!”