A statue to replace the controversial ‘Ribble Piddler’ has finally been installed.
The £30,000 boat sculpture was driven to Preston from Derbyshire on the back of a lorry, before being unloaded at the Ribble Link.
And waterway campaigners now hope the new statue will be even more iconic than the previous piece of public art.
Cliff Fazackerley, chairman of the Ribble Link Trust, said: “We are thrilled, we are over the moon.
“I think it will be even more iconic than the other statue – the boat itself will project over the lock so people are going to be virtually sailing under the boat.”
The new statue is the shape of a wave, 3m high, with a narrowboat made of stainless steel on top.
Cliff said: “It’s taller than we thought, which is great because we were a bit concerned it might not look tall enough.
“But when it’s in position it looks really impressive.
“The base is made of a special steel that looks like rust, but it’s meant to look like that, and the boat on top is made of stainless steel.”
The new statue was unloaded from the back of a lorry, before being bolted into place at the waterway in Ingol, and the boat lifted into position using a crane.
It was designed to replace the ‘Ribble Piddler’ – officially called Gauging the Ripple – which had to be removed when it began to rot about four years ago.
The Canal and River Trust and Ribble Link Trust yesterday installed the new artwork at the start of the Ribble Link, which had been designed and sculpted by artist Denis O’Connor.
The project had been hit by delays, and its planned arrival in 2012 never took place.
But Cliff said: “It took a long while but it’s worth the wait – we’ve no complaints.”
Steve Higham, enterprise manager at the Canal and River Trust said: “We’ve been working with the Ribble Link Trust for some time to come up with a new design to replace the Gauging the Ripple statue and I’m delighted that the new statue is now being installed, which will be a real focal point for the hundreds of visitors and the local community.
“It is really different from the last piece of art we had on the Ribble Link and I think that once in place, local people and boaters will come to love it just as much as the old piece.”