A life-size steel sculpture of a tunny fish was finally unveiled on Scarborough’s East Pier this morning following a string of delays.
Artist Ray Lonsdale travelled from Durham to install his latest creation, which was originally set to be fitted at Christmas after it was approved by the borough council.
An emotional Maureen Robinson, who bought the tunny fish for the town, said she was delighted with the final location, near the Marine Drive Toll House, adding that it was “well worth the wait”.
She said: I think it’s wonderful. I feel quite emotional. It’s been a long time coming and it looks more realistic than I imagined. The base of the statue is brilliant as is gives the impression of moving water and the whole thing has a lovely sheen to it. I think Ray has done a wonderful job.”
Mrs Robinson also bought the iconic Freddie Gilroy and Smuggler’s Apprentice statues for the town, but has thrown out plans to create a heritage sculpture trail due to delays in finding a suitable location for her latest gift.
A letter to the philanthropist from Scarborough Council also stated the authority would need to “review and develop a forward plan for siting additional public art in the borough” before any more statues could be given the go-ahead.
She said: “This is the final one for now but in the future, who knows?”
Plans to install the statue were also delayed amid health and safety fears that its tail was “too pointy”.
The council was concerned that it could injure children and passers-by, but it was agreed that it can be installed on condition its tail sticks out between the railings.
Mr Lonsdale said: “I think it’s a good solution. I wanted to try and create the piece as accurately as possible and their tales were spiky. Other options included rounding it off, but then it wouldn’t have looked like a tunny.”
The seven-foot long fish sculpture resting on a 12ft tall stand is intended to celebrate the town’s bluefin tuna fishing history.
Artist’s ‘lasting legacy’ in town
Artist Ray Lonsdale said: “It was two months in the making and seven months until it was installed so it’s nice to see it. I’m pleased with it’s position.
“It’s nice to have it on its plinth and for people to see. With the subject of it, I think it’s an ideal spot. We wanted it as close to the sea as possible and you can’t get much closer.
“I have nothing planned for Scarborough at the moment but I have had a good run with it and it has been a pleasure to do.
“It’s nice to have a lasting legacy in the town.
“The next project will be a land girls statue for Dalby Forest.”
The council’s deputy chief executive Hilary jones said: “It’s fantastic to see it in place. We pondered with Maureen for a long time about where to put it and I think it’s a great setting. It will be just as big an attraction as Freddie and it’s a great asset for the town. We are very lucky.”