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3 Oct 2014
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Mr Potato Head
by Bob Walker

A goodwill gesture from the people of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to their twin town of Belper in Derbyshire seems to have backfired.

The American town is the home of Mr Potato Head, the children's toy made famous by Disney's Toy Story, and they sent over an eight foot tall replica for public display in Belper and other towns in the Amber Valley district of Derbyshire.

But some local people complained in letters to the local paper that the statue was "hideous" and demanded its removal. It's now currently on display at the entrance to the leisure centre in neighbouring Alfreton.

Amber Valley's director of tourism Reg Whitworth (pictured right) said Mr Potato Head (pictured centre) was not meant to be a piece of public piece of art but symbolised the links between the two regions. It had proved popular with children and encouraged them to find out more about their American twin town.

But David Denton, founder member of Belper Art in Public Places, (pictured left) said the fibre glass "sculpture" was unsuitable for public display.

A sculpture of two geese commissioned by him for Belper several years ago had been criticised publicly, he said. But Mr Potato Head was infinitely worse.

Mr Whitworth said although a few letters in the local paper had attacked Mr Potato Head, an email poll had found most people were in favour.

Mr Potato Head will soon go on a tour of Amber Valley before being given a permanent home at the American Adventure theme park in Derbyshire.

Mr. Potato Head
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