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Ilam Imp sounds off on Twitter
Ilam imp
The Ilam imp peers out from the south side of the cross

A stone imp has been using a social networking site to keep locals and tourists up to date with the restoration of its home.

The imp 'lives' in a stone monument in the village of Ilam on the Derbyshire/Stafforshire border.

It has been using Twitter as a means of communication to tell people about the work going on at the village's historic cross.

The Victorian monument dominates the centre of the Peak District village.

The Ilam Imp began tweeting at the beginning of October by saying: "I've been keeping an eye on things in the village. The angels, including her under whose feet I nestle, have been gossiping again."

The curly-tailed creature goes on to talk about funds being raised for the restoration of the monument "to give the angels a facelift".

Since then it has talked about the weather, villagers and the workmen carrying out the restoration: "What is happening to my world? Bang bang bang clang clang bang- scaffolding???? Pah!!!!"

The imp is carved into a niche in the south face of the cross.

Built in the style of an Eleanor Cross (Edward I erected one at each stopping place of the body of his queen, Eleanor of Castile, on its journey from Nottinghamshire to Westminster Abbey in 1290), the monument is a striking structure.

Ilam Cross
The cross has suffered years of neglect and needs remedial work to restore it

Ilam's cross is a memorial to Mary, the wife of village squire Jesse Watts-Russell, who died in 1840.

A storm in the 1960s badly damaged the upper section of the monument. Repairs were eventually made but on a limited budget and the replacement section was not in keeping with the rest of the structure's Gothic style.

The campaign to restore the monument began in 2004. A series of delays has meant the work has only recently got underway.

In total, the cost of the restoration is more than £200,000 and has been raised through donations and grants.

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