Whaplode’s reputation as “a village with sculptures” is in question after a stone statue was removed from an estate in the village.
People living in Buttercup Paddock are “very concerned and saddened” after the Lodestone, one of 12 sculptures spread around Whaplode and Saracen’s Head, was taken away two weeks ago.
The sculpture, designed by London-trained wood and stone carver Martyn Barrett, is thought to have been one of at least five sculptures commissioned by retired pig farmer and former parish councillor Stan Hoyes.
At May’s parish council meeting in Whaplode Drove last Wednesday, Buttercup Paddock resident Rita Rudkin said: “I was there on the Saturday morning (May 6) when a JCB digger arrived.
“I went out of my house thinking ‘I won’t be able to go out and do my shopping”.
“Mr Hoyes was there so I asked him ‘what are you doing?’ and he said ‘I’m moving this sculpture because I’ve had so many complaints about it.’”
Mr Hoyes was there so I asked him ‘what are you doing?’ and he said ‘I’m moving this sculpture because I’ve had so many complaints about itRita Rudkin, of Whaplode
Ms Rudkin went on: “I told him ‘surely no one round here has complained as we all thought it was beautiful and we’re sad to see it go’.
“But Mr Hoyes wasn’t gracious at the time and he didn’t like being questioned as to where he was moving the sculture to.
“We’re very concerned about its removal, we’re very saddened by its disappearance from the village and we all feel very strongly about it because one minute it was there and the next minute it was gone.”
Our sister newspaper, the Spalding Guardian, reported in March on efforts by Whaplode Parish Council to establish the ownership of the sculptures.
The most famous of them was a 700lb pot-bellied pig known as the Whapplehog which once stood in Churchgate, a steel and brick sculpture also in Churchgate called Green Galaxy, Lodestone and False Start which still stands in Buttercup Paddock.
Coun Graham Barlow, who has spent the last six years gathering information about the sculptures, said: “Stan Hoyes is a long-time resident of Whaplode and his family has been in the village for a long time.
“I suggest that we write to Mr Hoyes and say that we’re disappointed to hear that he has removed Lodestone.”
The Free Press approached Mr Hoyes for a comment but he declined.