Town council set to ‘adopt’ trail statue

The Wesley statue in Epworth.  (Buy this photo E1821TS) Picture: Tony Saxton
The Wesley statue in Epworth. (Buy this photo E1821TS) Picture: Tony Saxton

The future care of a statue that is one of Epworth’s Methodist landmarks is still undecided.

But following long discussion about the statue of John Wesley, Epworth town council agreed to move forward with proposals to ‘adopt’ it.

Councillors voted to ‘look to’ taking on the ownership of the stone figure of the founder of Methodism, pending more details about insurance that it was felt could be costly.

Chairing the discussion, Coun Bob Fish said a firm quote was needed for the replacement value of the statue, that Coun Eddie Mardell said will have increased significantly in value in recent years.

The original casting of the statue was supported by a 10 per cent grant from North Lincolnshire Council.

Coun Ros Whittaker suggested a joint financing scheme with the Old Rectory or the Wesleyan Reform Church in Epworth might be an option, and Coun Richard Hall pointed out that the statue is on a site currently on a 99 year lease from North Lincolnshire Homes.

Coun Jan Levesley said that townspeople had never been consulted about the possibility of taking on responsibility for the statue.

A precedent could be created that could cause organisations to think the town council would take on other responsibilities too, added Coun Fish.

The statue is part of the town’s Wesley Trail, said Coun Peter Davies, and is visited by many, meaning it has to be cared for by somebody.

Town clerk Caroline Maguire is to further investigate insurance costs.

The statue on Albion Hill was erected in 2003 for the tercentenary of Wesley’s birth. The Wesley Movement Memorial Trust wishes to transfer ownership.