‘We will not be defeated’ pledge after sculpture fire

Coun Karen Aldred and members of Atherton Environmental Projects inspect the damage
Coun Karen Aldred and members of Atherton Environmental Projects inspect the damage

A councillor has vowed that a community group will not be beaten by mindless thugs who destroyed the centrepiece of a shared town garden.

Coun Karen Aldred said donations have poured in to replace the willow-weaved sculpture of a mother and child collecting flowers in Blue Bell Boundary Gardens on Bolton Old Road in Atherton after it was deliberately set alight on June 10.

“We will be able to reorder the statue but as it was bespoke it won’t be ready until later this year.”

Coun Karen Aldred

The sculpture formed the centrepiece of the community garden which had been created by Atherton Environmental Projects (AEP) and pupils from St Philip’s CE Primary School to make the entrance to the town more attractive.

Despite the donations there is no way a new sculpture will be ready in time for when judges from North West in Bloom visit at the end of July.

Coun Aldred said: “We will be able to reorder the statue but as it was bespoke it won’t be ready until later this year.

“So we have replaced it with a temporary structure which is a waterfall of flowers in upturned pots. The pupils at St Philip’s have also weaved some fish out of willow which we will put out when the judges come.

“We may not win but we are still really proud that we have got the garden into a state that means it can be entered into the competition.”

Enquiries into how set the sculpture was set alight are still ongoing and Coun Aldred has thanked the people that came forward with information about it.

“It was just a mindless act but we will not be beaten by them,” she said.