Shropshire

Ironbridge 4ft duck sculpture thrown in River Severn

he duck and the empty plinth Image copyright Jenny Leonard
Image caption The duck was raising money for hospice and cancer charities

A 4ft duck sculpture that was part of an art trail to raise money for charity has been ripped from its plinth and thrown in a river.

The "Peace Duck" was taken from its site in Ironbridge, Shropshire, on Saturday evening and a £300 reward has been offered for information about those responsible.

Art trail organiser Julie Ward said canoeists on the River Severn spotted the duck and pulled it out.

She described the rescuers as "heroes".

Ms Ward said: "We would like to thank everyone involved in the duck's rescue mission, including the two heroes who canoed to the rescue to get to him."

Image copyright Julie Ward
Image caption The duck sculpture was saved by two canoeists

Artist Jenny Leonard, who painted the duck as part of the Let's Go Quackers trail, said she was "gutted" the sculpture had been vandalised.

She said: "I think these things are probably drunken dares and people perhaps don't realise the impact."

Simon Hardiman, from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "I'm just glad it was hollow and in some respects was able to float, rather than sink, as it would have been very difficult to recover then."

Image copyright Shaun Dean
Image caption The duck sculpture was pulled from the river by volunteers

Ms Leonard, 34, who is based in London, took 30 hours to paint the duck, which is one of 10 designed by artists as part of the trail.

It was due to be auctioned off, with the proceeds to be split between Severn Hospice and the Jayne Sargent Foundation.

She said: "It's a real shame. The duck was, ironically now, called Peace, and was a really colourful, happy addition to the trail."

Image copyright Shaun Dean
Image caption The sculpture was taken by a team of volunteers from the riverbank to a waiting vehicle

A spokesman for Severn Hospice said: "This was very upsetting to hear.

"Not only does it have a potential impact on the funds being raised to support our work, it must be so disheartening for the wonderful, community-minded supporters who've put so much time and effort into helping us."

The art trial is set to run in Ironbridge until 8 July when it will head to Southwater in Telford. West Mercia Police was contacted for a comment.

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