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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Monument replaces damaged statue
Forward statue
The Forward statue was destroyed by fire

A Birmingham statue which was destroyed by arsonists earlier this year is to be replaced by another of the city's prominent art works.

The 200,000 fibre glass Forward statue in the city's Centenary Square was destroyed after it was set alight on 17 April.

It will now be replaced by the bronze monument of Matthew Boulton, James Watt and William Murdoch which currently sits outside the city's register office.

The statue will be renovated, placed on a new flood-lit plinth and re-gilded.

'Splendid sculpture'

Bruce Tanner, chairman of the Birmingham Civic Society, said he was delighted by the decision to replace the statue with the bronze monument.

"Taking it from what is a rather remote corner of the square into what is the most prominent position of the square, we think does justice to a splendid sculpture," he said.

Forward, a cream-coloured work known locally as the Lurpak sculpture because it looked as if it was made out of butter, was sculpted by Birmingham-trained Raymond Mason and erected when the square was completed in 1991.

Mr Mason said he was "staggered" by the damage to the statue when he surveyed it in April.

A 16-year-old youth from Bartley Green in Birmingham has been charged with arson in connection with the Forward statue.

Sculptor surveys statue damage
23 Apr 03  |  West Midlands

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