A proposal to commemorate the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard in Hammerwich by installing a giant statue of a Saxon warrior by the M6 near Stoke-on-Trent has been criticised by residents of Lichfield and district.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council want to spend £3.5million of public money on the 114ft warrior to celebrate the unearthing of £3.3million worth of Anglo-Saxon gold in 2009 at a secret location near the former town of Burntwood.
Lichfield District Councillor Ken Humphreys, who represents Hammerwich, said:
‘I accept that my expertise is limited to wasting public money in Lichfield rather than Stoke. But I’m not in favour of it really, the statue will be in the wrong place. Stoke Council would be much better spending that sort of money locating the monstrosity in the Lichfield district where it belongs. But not in Hammerwich, we already have a more than adequate sign acknowledging the hoard.’
The former town of Burntwood has been mooted as suitable alternative location. Due to be closed down completely by the end of 2016, Burntwood plays host to numerous bleak and desolate areas.
Local councillor Sue Norman, endangered Labour group, commented:
‘I’m starting a petition calling for the Warrior to be located here. Burntwood would be ideal, we love dwelling on the past and erecting statues and plaques commemorating bygone eras and many of the locals still speak fluent Anglo-Saxon.
‘As for locations, we have recently cleared Gentleshaw Common as part of the “Scorched Earth” town closure plan and then there is the former housing development site at Milestone Way that is being remediated by means of controlled explosions by the lads in the Army bomb disposal team. Either site would be ideal.
‘But could the statue be made to look a little bit more miner-like?’
Local lad Paul Mycock,23, agreed, he said:
‘Any plan to pump money into Staffordshire whores gets my vote any day.’
In the spirit of compromise Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant has launched himself onto another bandwagon he has no interest in, he suggests:
‘In return for the Warrior, Lichfield should repatriate the statue of Titanic Captain Edward Smith from Beacon Park to his home town of Stoke-on-Trent where he belongs.’
In a terse response Stoke Councillor Steve Wedgwood replied:
‘Captain Smith of the Titanic? Never heard of him. Forget it.’
Mr Fabricant later commented:
‘Councillor Wedgwood is absolutely right to reject such a ludicrous proposal that I myself have never promoted and I completely distance myself from my earlier remarks. I have been completely misrepresented by myself in a premature ejaculate-tory press release. But I will certainly be raising the matter with the Minister. The matter of overcrowded trains to London that is.’
BBC star and failed antiques dealer Jonty Hearnden was on hand in the Three Spires Shopping Centre, Lichfield to value various items of junk, including plates, statues, sculptures, old maps and jewellery.
But the find of the day was an old pocket watch belonging to Linda Vixen.
The “Crap in the Attic” daytime TV celebrity said:
‘I understand it was Linda’s grandfather’s watch, and that he was alive in 1912 when, coincidentally, the Titanic sank. There’s a real interest in all things Titanic, so any tenuous link, such as surviving the sinking of the ship even though not a passenger, can really give value to what would otherwise be a worthless piece of shite.’
Mrs Vixen was advised to dig deeper into the history of the watch. She commented:
‘Jonty says it dates from 1890-1910 so it’s fascinating to think that it would have been ticking as the vessel sank and indeed it has survived two World Wars. This watch is just steeped in history and must be worth a fortune.’
Linda moved to Lichfield 20 years ago largely because of the close links between her grandfather and the Titanic. She said:
‘When I heard that there was a statue of Captain Edward Smith in Beacon Park I just knew that I was destined to live in the City. And what a coincidence that my priceless pocket watch and the ill-fated captain should both wind up in a City with which they have no connection whatsoever.’
Other items that caught the TV expert’s eye, included one well-travelled dinner plate that had journeyed around the Sun and back at least 150 times since it was originally made in Staffordshire in the 1860’s. Jonty said:
‘It’s these sort of stories that make antiques so interesting.’