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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 10:01 GMT
Giant wooden statue gets the chop
Mercia Man
The sculpture was created by Philip Bews in 2000
A 20ft-high wooden sculpture is being chopped down because it has become infected with a fungal disease.

Chainsaws are being used on the figure of Mercia Man in Gaol Street, Hereford, because it has become unstable.

In recent weeks scaffolding has shrouded the popular figure of a knight which was carved from the remains of a beech tree by Philip Bews.

The sculpture is to be dried out and treated and it is hoped it will return by the middle of the summer.

Mercia Man, which was commissioned by Herefordshire Council, was erected in October 2000.

Councillor Roy Stockton, cabinet member for community services, said the sculpture would be taken to a storeroom in Rotherwas for a few months.

"This will allow him to dry out before we apply various wood treatments to preserve him," he said.

"This could take three to four months but should mean that he will last for a further 60 years."

When creating the sculpture, Mr Bews initially used a chainsaw to carve out the rough figure of a knight and then used hand carving for details such as the face and hands.

The large headdress of the sculpture is based on various buildings in the town such as the Cathedral and old bridge and the figure is carrying an apple in one hand and a Hereford bull in the other.

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