Norfolk

Wells-next-the-Sea: Campaigners to buy horse sculpture

Lifeboat Horse, Wells-next-the-Sea Image copyright Rachael Long
Image caption Lifeboat Horse, which is 10ft (3m) high, was embedded off the coast of Wells-next-the-Sea over summer

A "sea horse" that was embedded in sand on a coastline this summer could be brought back permanently.

Artist Rachael Long created the 10ft-high (3m) sculpture in Wells-next-the-Sea as a tribute to the horses that used to pull the lifeboat.

Lifeboat Horse was removed at the end of October, but a campaign has started to raise £15,000 to reinstall it.

Harbour master Robert Smith said he hoped it would become "a symbolic piece" that would attract tourists.

The sculpture, which was part of the Wells Heritage Art Trail, was made from steel bars and old whisky barrels and was partially obscured at high tide.

Horses were used to pull the town's 33ft (10m) lifeboat more than two miles from the quay to Holkham Gap until 1936 - the last RNLI station to do so.

Image copyright Rachael Long
Image caption The full sculpture, made from steel bars and old whisky barrels, was revealed at low tide

Harbour commissioners, who are leading the campaign, have until the end of January to raise the money and has so far raised "a few hundred pounds". They have pledged to donate some of the cash and will cover all ongoing insurance, maintenance and winter storage costs.

Mr Smith said there had been a "lot of interest" and it was important to buy the sculpture because "so many people loved it".

He said: "We're hoping it will become a symbolic piece, like one of Antony Gormley's sculptures.

"People have already come from all over the country to see the horse - it's good for tourism, it's good for Wells and it's good for Norfolk."

Ms Long, who lives near Wymondham, said the reaction to the Lifeboat Horse had been "fantastic".

Image copyright Wells Harbour Commissioners
Image caption Horses were originally used to pull the lifeboat more than two miles from Wells-next-the-Sea to Holkham Gap

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