Hare today, gone tomorrow?

Matthew Chatfield
Latest posts by Matthew Chatfield (see all)

Once, on a crossroads in the middle of the Isle of Wight sat a rather anomalous leyland cypress tree. Some years ago for some reason, be it stormy weather or vehicle impact, it fell down, was mostly removed, and left a substantial stump. The stump sat on one of the most prominent verges on the Island, and little if anything was thought of it – certainly not by its owners, the Isle of Wight Council. This was the situation in Arreton Cross until summer 2008, when a combination of factors led to a remarkable transformation of the treestump and the surrounding area of grassland and scrub. The Isle of Wight Council and the local Arreton Parish Council both agreed that something needed to be done to transform the dismal-looking verge. To cut a (very) long story short, the IW Council employed local charity the Island 2000 Trust to work with volunteers from Arreton to improve the site. Lots of work was done, including carving the treestump into a splendid proud hare alongside two amorous magpies, entitled “Good Omen”.

Hare sculpture at Arreton © Island 2000

Island 2000 Trust director Ian Boyd said at the time:

[The sculptor, Paul Sivell,] has done a fantastic job. I can’t believe he has managed to get so much out of so little material. We are just hoping the sculpture is left for everyone to enjoy because other projects have suffered from theft and vandalism.

Sadly, this weekend Ian’s fears were realised. The perky hare did not even survive to see the first anniversary of his creation.

Arreton hare gone

The tell-tale signs of a chainsaw can be seen where the hare sculpture has been cruelly severed from the magpies. It’s not even an accident or casual vandalism – this was organised theft. I went out as soon as I heard, to inspect the site. Not that there was much to be done – he’s gone, and that’s the way it is. A very upsetting development. Of course, we’ll tell the police, and see if anyone spots an impressive wooden hare. Let’s hope so, as I am sure if he returns we’ll be able to put him back in place. Anyway, as this is one of the busiest roads on the Island, surely somebody driving by saw somebody working with a chainsaw right by the main Arreton Cross junction?

The Ranger inspects the damaged sculpture

Watch this space – if the hare returns, he’ll feature right here.

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

4 thoughts on “Hare today, gone tomorrow?

  • 12th May, 2012 at 6:12 pm
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    All of the CCTV’s you supposedly have in the UK, but not pointed where you need them when. I am infuriated with you that someone would steal your sculpture. You might think that something that required a chainsaw to remove would have been harder to take. Now you know to spike the next sculpture so it at least ruins the thief’s chainsaw. (but hopefully doesn’t cause the kick back to take their legs, or maybe, no that’s not nice)

    Reply
  • 12th May, 2012 at 6:12 pm
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    Oh no – it looks like the magpies are weeping at the loss of their friend.

    Reply
  • 12th May, 2012 at 6:12 pm
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    I noticed the hare missing yesterday morning and was very upset. I drove past the hare and his magpie companions to and from work and they always made me smile. Now some selfish person has decided only they should enjoy this beautiful sculpture, no-one else.

    Reply
  • 12th May, 2012 at 6:12 pm
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    Saddened to hear about this. It seems that nothing good can be done on this island without small minded people ruining it for everyone else. I hope they’re proud of themselves and hope they weren’t local as we, as an island and community, can do without people like that. They should be ashamed.

    Reply

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