First look at replacement Hartlepool war memorial statue made by North-East sculptor Ray Lonsdale

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A distinctive new sculpture that will grace a Hartlepool park is taking shape.

The figure of a Boer War soldier is being crafted by top North East artist Ray Lonsdale after a fundraising campaign raised £25,000.

It will stand on top of a memorial in Ward Jackson Park to replace a bronze statue of a Boer War soldier that disappeared more than 50 years ago in 1968.

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Project fundraiser Stephen Close has shared pictures of how the new sculpture is taking shape following the completion of the soldier’s head and rifle.

The head of the new Boer War statue by sculptor Ray Lonsdale.The head of the new Boer War statue by sculptor Ray Lonsdale.
The head of the new Boer War statue by sculptor Ray Lonsdale.

Stephen said: "Now it is being manufactured it’s a big relief to see the final product and nice to see it taking shape.

"It has taken six years to get to this stage. Until now it has all been fundraising and paperwork.

"It is finally really happening. Within another three months I will be able to see the finished product then we will make arrangements to get it erected."

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The finished statue will consist of over 2,500 small, cut, shaped and welded pieces of corten steel.

Stephen CloseStephen Close
Stephen Close

Whereas the previous statue was believed to have been stolen for scrap, Stephen said the steel being used for the new one would have very little value.

It has been made possible after the fundraising appeal reached its £25,000 target at Christmas.

The fund was boosted by numerous public donations from generous supporters including those with links to the armed forces.

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Another major source was a series of auctions of local memorabilia by Stephen on a Facebook Hartlepool history site.

The rifle that will form part of the new statue.The rifle that will form part of the new statue.
The rifle that will form part of the new statue.

Stephen wanted the money to be raised by the public as the original statue was bought by public subscription in 1906.

The memorial in the park honours the 23 soldiers from Hartlepool who perished in the Boer War in South Africa between 1899 and 1902.

Steel fabricator Ray Lonsdale has made a series of acclaimed sculptures sited across the North East including Tommy, portraying a First World War soldier in Seaham, Bonnie Pit Lad at Wheatley Hill and Fiddlers Green at South Shields fish quay.

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Sculpture has always been his passion and through his thought-provoking steel creations he conveys sensitivity and emotion.

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