Town statue gets the golden touch

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Belper Town mayor Gary Spendlove has said he is ‘delighted’ by the reaction to the town statue dedication to Olympic medallist Hollie Webb.

The Mr Potato Head statue now dons a gold medal, golden hockey stick and the Olympic rings around his neck, as a tribute to Hollie, who won gold in the women’s hockey at Rio 2016.

Gary said the idea to decorate Mr Potato Head was first mentioned on the radio, and then was planned by the town council.

He said: “I am absolutely thrilled with the reaction to the statue, and even Hollie herself has commented on the statue via Twitter.

“We just wanted to show how proud we are of her and that we are delighted at her achievement. It was a bit of fun, but it does mean something to us all. Hollie’s success also shows how strong Belper sports clubs are. Here’s to many more successes in the future.”

The town mayor is now hoping to push for a centre for sporting excellence in Belper, with the hope of it being named after Hollie – a former Ecclesbourne School student.

The 7ft fibreglass statue was given to Belper by its American twin town of Pawtucket, Rhode Island – the character’s birthplace - in 2001 as a gift.

It was displayed at theme park American Adventure for some time before being refurbished and put back in the town centre opposite the bus station on the A6.

After seeing a picure of the statue, the Olympian tweeted: ‘Haha love this! Only in Belper would you get this!’