A new £30,000 boat sculpture to replace the controversial ‘Ribble Piddler’ has been officially unveiled to the public.
A flotilla of eight boats travelled down the Millennium Ribble Link on the Lancaster Canal from Ingol, Preston to mark the occasion before Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust officially revealed the new sculpture to the waiting public.
Steve Higham, enterprise manager at the Canal & River Trust said: “The boat gathering celebrated the new arrival of the sculpture which is a real focal point for the hundreds of boaters who use the link each year and the local community who enjoy a walk along the towpath.”
Commissioned by the Canal & River Trust and the Ribble Link Trust, artist Denis O’Connor of ‘Sculptureworks’ in Derbyshire designed the metal sculpture.
Standing 10 feet tall, the sculpture in the shape of a wave with a narrowboat made of stainless steel on top, represents the tidal section of the waterways and highlights the close relationship between the waterways and the boating community.
The original 16ft oak sculpture statue, nicknamed the Ribble Piddler’ - officially called Gauging the Ripple - had to be removed when it began to rot about four years ago.
It cost around £21,000 and was carved to celebrate the UK’s first new waterway for a century, as part of an arts trail, along with three other smaller pieces when it was commissioned by British Waterways in 2003.
Cliff Fazackerley, chairman of the Ribble Link Trust, said:“The new sculpture is completely different from the last piece of art we had on the Ribble Link.
“Lots of people are really fascinated by it. The unveiling brings together everyone who’s been involved with the Ribble Link over the past few years who worked in partnership to ensure a new sculpture was installed to replace the ‘Riddle Piddler’ which marked the building of the link.”
The Canal and River Trust and Ribble Link Trust installed the latest piece in artwork back in May when the statue was driven to Preston from Derbyshire.