A kind-hearted sculptor and councillors joined forces to unveil new owl sculptures after the originals were vandalised.

Two of the much-loved artworks in Witton Park were destroyed by vandals who hacked off the faces of the birds in June.

But after reading about the attack, wood carver Martyn Bednarczuk, who created the original statues, contacted the Lancashire Telegraph and said he would replace them.

The Blackburn-based sculptor spent a week recreating the owl figures using specialist saws and they will be re-housed in the Big Cover play area.

Martyn said that he had made the replacement owls smaller than the originals so that they can be enjoyed by children.

He said: “When I got the paper I saw a lot of people were upset so I decided that I could use two logs to re-carve them.

“I was happy to do it because it would have been a shame for people to have lost out because of the unpleasant actions a few individuals.”

Branwen Earnshaw, Witton Park manager said: “The old sculptures were well-loved and I hope that the new ones will receive the same attention.

“Art helps people appreciate the park in a broader sense and by puttiong artwork on display, it takes it out of the confines of gallery spaces so it reaches more people.”

Council leaders thanked Martyn for his dedication to the community.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive member for leisure, culture and young People, Coun Damian Talbot, said: “It’s great to see these new sculptures taking pride of place in the park.

“I’d like to thank Martyn for going above and beyond to replace our old sculptures that were damaged in a truly awful act of vandalism.

“But we have come out on top and have also been able to modify the plinths of the old sculptures into seating for the park’s visitors to enjoy”.