A team of 12 teenagers have given a Northumberland town’s iconic mascot a much-needed makeover.
The youngsters spent their entire February half-term holiday sprucing up the Prudhoe Badger public artwork, which sits on a hillside overlooking the A695 bypass, adding the finishing touches last week for its official unveiling.
The giant stone and earth creation had suffered over the last two decades from vandalism, theft and the ravages of time and weather, leading the volunteers to offer their help as part of a Prince’s Trust project.
To restore the town’s emblem back to its former glory, the volunteers – aged 16 to 22 – rearranged stones to more clearly resemble the badger’s form, while they repainted the head, tail and stripes in bright white.
Money for the project was provided by Prudhoe Town Council, Barclays, Mid Tyne Lions Club and several local businesses, alongside The Prince’s Trust – a charity which aims to get young people into work by giving them new skills and confidence.
Councillor Tony Reid, who represents South Prudhoe for Northumberland County Council, first commissioned the £15,000 30m-long Prudhoe Badger in the early 1990s on behalf of Northumberland County Council, shortly after the A695 bypass was built.
“I had asked a number of artists to come up with ideas for the hillside and I went with the badger by Gary Power. It was controversial as public art always is, but created a conversation and I liked that. Since then it has been accepted by locals and the town has taken it to heart.
“But the problem is maintenance due to wear and tear, which I have taken responsibility for but over the last couple of years it had begun to look really shabby. It needed some investment.
“I was having no success getting money from the council but then was contacted by the Prince’s Trust, in conjunction with local young people, who had the idea of improving it.
“They have been fantastic and the response since their work is that the badger is looking better than ever. There was also support from local businesses so it has been a real community effort.”
Prince’s Trust team leader Adam Crolla added:
“As part of their 12 week programme, the young people have to complete a community project and they all decided to renovate the badger as something that could use a makeover.
“They all worked really hard and have done a great job.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 21 Mar 2015