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Statue will celebrate Wirral's Viking heritage
WIRRAL'S deeply-embedded links with its Viking heritage will take solid shape with the erection of an 8ft high Viking warrior at a local park next year.
Campaigners have secured local authority approval for the venture. Now they must raise £40,000 for a bronze figure of Viking leader Ingimund to be sculpted and put in place in Meols Park.
The unveiling next summer will coincide with the maiden voyage of Viking longship Dragon Harald Fairhair which will retrace the sea voyage taken by the Vikings from Scandinavia to Instanbul.
Wirral Viking expert Professor Stephen Harding will help in the design of the statue which sculptor Stephen Hitchin has been commissioned to create.
Prof Harding, who has already received a top Norwegian honour for his work in strengthening Wirral’s Viking heritage, is hoping he can persuade Norwegian King Harald V to visit the peninsula to see the statue for himself.
He said: “I am seeing the king at the palace on September 3 when I will ask him. The longship team in Haugesund have told me that he is very interested in the longship project, so it would be marvellous for Wirral if he was here when the longship arrives and there is a statue of Wirral’s first known leader – the Norsman Ingimund – for him to unveil.
The provisional arrival date in Wirral for the longboat is next May.
Roy Shuttleworth, secretary of the Friends of Meols Park, said: “We think it would be fantastic to have a statue and fitting to have something lasting to commemorate the visit of the longship.”
Contact was made with Wirral Council’s heritage bureau some years ago about the project and the go-ahead was given.
Roy said: “Now we want to push on with it.
“The statue itself will be larger than life and it will be on a plinth designed like a rock or a longship.”