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.

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