Duck call for rail tribute

The planned statue of Sir Nigel Gresley with the Mallard.
The planned statue of Sir Nigel Gresley with the Mallard.

It might sound quackers – but a petition to return a bronze duck to a planned statue of Doncaster rail pioneer Sir Nigel Gresley is gathering steam.

Proposals had been unveiled for the tribute at King’s Cross Station as a lasting memorial to the railway engineer who created the world-famous Flying Scotsman and Mallard locomotives in the town.

The original plans for the bronze figure included a model of a mallard at Sir Nigel’s feet – alluding to his legendary steam creation and the fact that he liked to feed ducks during his spare time.

But the duck has now been removed – with growing calls to reinistate it.

A petition has been launched to bring back the bird, included by award-winning sculptor Hazel Reeves to symbolise the world’s fastest steam locomotive Mallard.

However, the Gresley Society Trust, who commissioned the statue decided to remove the mallard under pressure from Sir Nigel’s elderly grandsons, who were worried it would cause ridicule.

Libby Ranzetta, who started the petition, said: “There has been overwhelming support for keeping the mallard, which draws people to the statue and sparks interest in Sir Nigel and his achievements.

“Without it, most people think the statue is pretty unremarkable and will simply go unnoticed.

“It would be wonderful if Doncaster, birthplace of Mallard, could get behind this campaign to give the statue some of the flair and imagination his designs are famous for.”

She added: “We hope that the petition will enable the Gresley Society to go back to Sir Nigel’s grandsons and convince them the mallard is a brilliant way to sustain the great man’s legacy.”

The 7ft 4in high bronze sculpture will stand on the Western Concourse and is due to be unveiled on April 5, 2016, the 75th anniversary of Sir Nigel’s death.