Pensioner buys Ray Lonsdale sculpture in Scarborough
- 10 December 2011
- From the section York & North Yorkshire
A pensioner from Scarborough has donated £50,000 to keep a sculpture as a permanent fixture for the town.
The steel work on the North Bay, which depicts an old soldier sitting on a bench, was loaned for one month by artist Ray Lonsdale.
Local resident Jakki Willby started a campaign last month to raise £50,000 to keep the statue.
However, fellow resident Maureen Robinson has now donated the money to keep the artwork in the town.
Mrs Robinson said she bought it as a "thank you to the people".
The piece, called Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers, is based on the former miner who was one of the first Allied soldiers to enter the Belsen concentration camp on its liberation in World War II.
'Dream come true'
"I've been saving up for years to buy something for Scarborough and the opportunity has never risen," said Mrs Robinson.
"When we saw Freddie, I said, 'This is dream come true'.
"It seemed the perfect thing, as a thank you to Scarborough... and for the happy years we have spent here.
Mrs Wilby, who started the campaign to keep the steelwork piece, said: "She's not a rich lady, she has been a saver her entire life.
"It is such an amazing thing to do with your life savings but I suppose she's immortalised herself forever which is just such a fantastic thing to do."
Mrs Robinson said the artist Mr Lonsdale was a "genius with tremendous talent".
Mr Lonsdale, who is based in County Durham, said: "From the minute this sculpture hit the ground it got a lot of interest."
He said he was flattered with the interest in his work.
A second sculpture loaned to the council, A High Tide in Short Wellies, is based on Whitby's West Pier.