FILEY has been sensationally gifted a gigantic £50,000 sculpture – by the same woman who donated to Scarborough the giant ‘Freddie’ statue.
Philanthropist Maureen Robinson, of Malvern Crescent, has stepped in at the 11th hour to keep Ray Lonsdale’s 12ft angler sculpture, entitled ‘A High Tide in Short Wellies’, in Filey.
It became an instant hit since arriving from Saltburn via Whitby over three weeks ago. It was set to move to Scarborough on Monday for a month to join Mrs Robinson’s previous acquisition, ‘Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers’, after Filey residents fell short in raising the amount needed to keep it in the town.
However, it will now reside in Filey permanently, where it will surely become an instant landmark, and will hopefully give tourism in the town a boost.
Mrs Robinson said her long-time love of Filey was the main reason for the purchase, saying: “When you’ve achieved three score years and ten, I feel it’s time to give something back to the local community. We have no family, therefore a sculpture project for future generations and visitors from far and wide to enjoy, seemed a dream come true.
“I’ve had quite a few wonderful days in Filey with my husband Michael. We only get up there once a month or so now, but we used to go every week.
“He once took me to the beach at night to collect razor shells. It’s such a beautiful place, especially the Brigg, and I’ve nothing but fond memories of it.
“We love the museum there, it’s a real hidden treasure, and it’s inspired me in a way to do this. Filey’s such a lovely place and it’s so unspoilt.
“It’s not progressed with time and it’s all the better for it.”
The 12ft high statue laments the decline of the fishing industry, and features a powerful poem at its base, with Mrs Robinson adding that it “seemed fitting to have the ‘fisherman’ for the fishing resort of Filey.”
This is the second time in a matter of weeks that Mrs Robinson has stunned the community with her generosity.
Her acquisition of ‘Freddie’ drew an incredible reaction from grateful Scarborians at the time. Local business owners posted ‘thank you’ posters in shop windows, and hundreds of well-wishers posted messages of thanks on the Evening News website.
One man who is eternally grateful to Mrs Robinson is Filey borough councillor Mike Cockerill, who was instrumental in bringing the sculpture to Filey last month, after a stint in Whitby.
He believes Mrs Robinson is owed a debt of gratitude by Filey, and at last night’s Filey Town Council meeting, he said: “I am overjoyed to be able to announce that a most generous benefactor has come forward to pledge to gift the sculpture to the people of Filey, subject to a suitable permanent site being prepared and the provision of a suitable information plaque funded locally.”
Negotiations are believed to still be ongoing as to where the statue will be located. It currently resides on Coble Landing, gazing out to the sea. However, the Evening News understands that it will be moved to a more permanent location, with Cllr Cockerill stating last night that he wishes for the statue to be located on the opposite side of Herring Hill.
Cllr Cockerill is also spearheading a fundraising campaign to provide an information board and special seafront mount for the spectacular artwork. He added: “This is an incredible piece of generosity and I can’t thank Mrs Robinson enough. The High Tide sculpture has proven to be extremely popular and I’m delighted it will now become a permanent landmark in the town.”
Sculptor Ray Lonsdale also heaped praise on Mrs Robinson, saying: “I am of course delighted that Mrs Robinson has shown such support for my work,”
“It is also so flattering that the people of Filey and Scarborough have been so keen to have these sculptures on a permanent basis. I cannot think of more fitting sites for either of these pieces.”