Campaign to keep Freddie

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A SCARBOROUGH resident has launched an appeal to raise £50,000 in four weeks in a battle to ensure a popular giant sculpture is made a permanent feature on the town’s seafront.

A SCARBOROUGH resident has launched an appeal to raise £50,000 in four weeks in a battle to ensure a popular giant sculpture is made a permanent feature on the town’s seafront.

Jakki Wilby, who has lived in the town for over 20 years, believes the figure, created by Durham artist Ray Lonsdale, could be Scarborough’s answer to the Angel of the North.

She is so adamant it should remain in the town, she has made it her mission to raise the money to buy the piece, called Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers, before it is removed on December 10.

Mr Lonsdale plans to display it around the country until it is sold and is asking for £48,000. He said: “Scarborough is a unique town and I am pleased that my ‘Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers’ is on show there for residents and visitors alike to look at and enjoy.”

Mrs Wilby has turned to social media to raise awareness of the campaign and has won the backing of the nephew of Freddie Gilroy, the retired miner on whom the statue is based.

She said: “It’s raised so much interest and people just seem to be really captivated by it, Whatever time of day it is there are always people there having a look at it, taking photos and reading the plaque.

“It looks fantastic where it is and I just really feel this is the type of thing Scarborough needs. It could be a real destination piece like the Angel of the North.”

Mr Gilroy was one of the first soldiers to liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany at the end of the war.

His nephew, Albert Brewster, who had no idea the sculpture existed until he saw it on a recent trip to Scarborough, said keeping it in the town’s North Bay would be the perfect tribute to his beloved uncle, who died two years ago, aged 87.

Mrs Wilby has set up a Facebook page, which asks people to upload photographs of them next to the sculpture, and also plans to set up a Twitter page.

She said: “By launching the campaign, if Scarborough Council aren’t willing to keep the piece then we have got hard evidence there’s a strong public opinion.”

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