£18,000 spruce-up for Willow Man

Bridgwater Mercury: The iconic figure The iconic figure

THE ARTIST who designed Sedgemoor’s iconic Willow Man will give the figure an £18,000 facelift this week.

Serena de la Hey will carry out remedial work on the 12-metre-high figure’s head and arms, which have been wasting away, from today until Saturday, followed by a total rebuild over the next year.

Serena said: “They’re more or less down to the metal framework so I will be going 40 feet up in a cherry-picker to reweave those areas, using local willow from Stoke St Gregory.

“So many people have come to me asking when he’s going to be repaired so I’m very happy we can finally go ahead with this work.

“Some areas haven’t been touched for 12 years so it’s inevitable they need repairing. This is fairly typical for artworks made from natural materials.”

The cost of refurbishing the landmark is being met by Hallam Land Management Ltd, Yarlington Housing Group and Sedgemoor District Council.

Gary Orr, Chief Executive of Yarlington Housing Group, said: “Our homes at Kings Down are within sight of the Willow Man and we look forward to a future in which he continues to play a major part.”

The news comes just days after the Mercury was contacted by Teresa Grant, from Sycamore Close in Bridgwater, who noticed the giant was not looking his best.

She said: “Our famous Willow Man is looking very sorry for himself. His left arm is very thin now and his head is losing shape as well.

“It is a famous landmark for a lot of travellers using the M5 and I normally point him out to family and friends when they visit Bridgwater.”

The figure was created to mark the Millennium and celebrates the role of willow in the ecology and craft tradition of the Somerset Levels.

Further repair work to other parts of the body will be needed next year and Serena is seeking support from local organisations.

What do you think of the Willow Man? Have your say using the comments box below.

Comments (3)

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2:54pm Tue 18 Sep 12

Mr Pedant says...

I'm pleased to hear that the Willow Man is to be refurbished as he has been in a sad state for some time now and as an ambassador for our local basket making industry, he isn't doing a very good job. Also, as his once tranquil surroundings have now gone, I wonder if the time has come to move him to a better location a little further up the M5 where he can be better viewed and appreciated.
I'm pleased to hear that the Willow Man is to be refurbished as he has been in a sad state for some time now and as an ambassador for our local basket making industry, he isn't doing a very good job. Also, as his once tranquil surroundings have now gone, I wonder if the time has come to move him to a better location a little further up the M5 where he can be better viewed and appreciated. Mr Pedant

3:50pm Tue 18 Sep 12

localallmylife says...

Great, to "celebrate" the millennium we (residents of Sedgemoor) spend thousands of pounds on a statue that will continuously need repairs costing yet more thousands of pounds. At £18,000 for just the head and arms, I am not surprised Serena de la Hey is happy to be repairing it. Meanwhile we (the residents of Sedgemoor) no longer have a swimming pool because apparently we couldn't afford to maintain and service it, superb use of money that - 1 x source of bird nest material doing nothing and helping no one, constantly being repaired at ridiculous cost but no swimming pool. Can't wait to see how much the disgrace that is the "rope walk" will cost to repair. Surely the money could have been much better used to remove it and save us future ridiculous repair costs. We might, just might get some thing worthwhile and useful with the money we can save. Well done Sedgemoor another fine job you have done.
Great, to "celebrate" the millennium we (residents of Sedgemoor) spend thousands of pounds on a statue that will continuously need repairs costing yet more thousands of pounds. At £18,000 for just the head and arms, I am not surprised Serena de la Hey is happy to be repairing it. Meanwhile we (the residents of Sedgemoor) no longer have a swimming pool because apparently we couldn't afford to maintain and service it, superb use of money that - 1 x source of bird nest material doing nothing and helping no one, constantly being repaired at ridiculous cost but no swimming pool. Can't wait to see how much the disgrace that is the "rope walk" will cost to repair. Surely the money could have been much better used to remove it and save us future ridiculous repair costs. We might, just might get some thing worthwhile and useful with the money we can save. Well done Sedgemoor another fine job you have done. localallmylife

6:24pm Mon 24 Sep 12

scally666 says...

gallon of petrol and a few matches costs less than a tenner (for now) and would also not need further repairs
gallon of petrol and a few matches costs less than a tenner (for now) and would also not need further repairs scally666

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