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Park memorial to former Hartlepool councillor Cath Hill

The newly installed mermaid bench at Seaton Park with members of the park's friends groups and Hartlepool Borough Council's parks and countryside team

The newly installed mermaid bench at Seaton Park with members of the park's friends groups and Hartlepool Borough Council's parks and countryside team

A STRIKING carved bench in the shape of a mermaid has been installed at a community park as a memorial to a popular councillor.

The work of art has been placed in Seaton Park in tribute to Seaton councillor Cath Hill who tragically died from cancer in February at the age of 76.

The mermaid carving cost more than £2,000 and has been funded out of the ward budgets of fellow Seaton councillors Paul Thompson and Kelly Atkinson.

Councillor Atkinson, who was a close friend of Cath, said: “Cath did a lot of work for people, especially the young people of Seaton and also Hartlepool.

“A couple of years ago the Seaton councillors got together and put our ward budgets towards two other carvings for the park.

“When Cath sadly passed away it was something we talked about and thought it would be a fitting tribute to her to progress with this new carving.”

The mermaid, which also serves as a bench for park visitors, has been expertly created by tree sculptor Tommy Craggs.

It was installed by the Friends of Seaton Park group and Hartlepool Borough Council’s parks and countryside officers.

Graeme Measor, of the friends group, said: “I think it looks magnificent. It is a brilliant piece of artwork.”

Coun Atkinson said they hope to add a plaque in memory to Cath to it in due course.

She added: “I didn’t think it would be anywhere near as good as it was.

“I think it’s marvellous. I hope people enjoy it. It may not look it, but it is comfortable to sit on.

“It may be that we get some more dotted around the park or for other areas of the town.”

Cath had served on the council for around 15 years when she lost her battle with cancer.

She was a former children’s services portfolio holder and worked tirelessly for the town’s youngsters.

The mum of one and grandmother of two had managed to beat the disease around eight years ago and went into remission, but she became ill again last summer.

 

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