Stolen Whitworth willow sculpture ‘Tommy’ found dumped in bushes

Back on duty, from left David Joddrell and Stephen Scrivens with Tommy

Back on duty, from left David Joddrell and Stephen Scrivens with Tommy

First published in News by , Reporter

A WILLOW sculpture of a soldier stolen by thieves is ‘back on duty’ after it was found dumped in bushes.

Veterans pleaded for information when ‘Tommy’ was stolen from Healey Corner, in Whitworth, two weeks ago.

The wicker man, along with a tank sculpture, was created by Haslingden-based charity Veterans In Communities member David Joddrell, from Bacup, to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.

VIC outreach and comm- unity development officer Suzanne Preston said: “We were contacted through the Facebook page Making Whitworth a Great Place to Live by Stephen Scrivens, who said he had seen the sculp- ture discarded in bushes in Heywood.”

Stephen, a gardener from Heywood, brought the sculpture back to David Chorlton, in Whitworth, and Tommy was reunited with Suzanne in the town’s Red Lion pub.

Stephen said: “When I saw it, it just looked like a pile of sticks but, when I went closer, I could see it was a soldier.

“One of my customers told me about the missing sculpture and I realised what it was.

“I am so happy to have been able to return it because it means a lot to people, and I have a lot of time for veterans. There is so much community spirit around here.”

Suzanne said: “We got Tommy a pint in the pub.

“After his ordeal we thought it was the least we could do.

“We have no idea who stole the sculpture, or why, but a lot of good has come from its disappear ance.

“It has made everyone aware of the First World War centenary, raised awareness of our work in VICm and the commemorations we are involved.

“And it has brought the town together to look for Whitworth’s lost soldier.

“So, unwittingly, the thief has done some good, not that we want Tommy to disappear again.”

The charity has a licence to display the tank and soldier on land next to the main road at Healey Corner for the four-year duration of the commemorations.

Comments (3)

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3:37pm Thu 15 May 14

pdb951 says...

If you find the culprit prosecute them
If you find the culprit prosecute them pdb951
  • Score: 4

5:32am Fri 16 May 14

Loving lances says...

Good news but it will take a lot more to make Whitworth a great place to live.
Good news but it will take a lot more to make Whitworth a great place to live. Loving lances
  • Score: -1

11:51am Fri 16 May 14

HelmshoreMan2010 says...

This being a crime or not will be a tricky one, if it's public land then it wouldn't be a crime at all. If that's the case anybody who picks up a stick to throw for a dog would be guilty of the same crime.

It would also make the creator guilty of the same crime for taking the sticks to use in the first place.

Either way it shouldn't have gone missing but I am glad some good has come of it.
This being a crime or not will be a tricky one, if it's public land then it wouldn't be a crime at all. If that's the case anybody who picks up a stick to throw for a dog would be guilty of the same crime. It would also make the creator guilty of the same crime for taking the sticks to use in the first place. Either way it shouldn't have gone missing but I am glad some good has come of it. HelmshoreMan2010
  • Score: 0

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