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Love it, hate it, the black Diana statue is still here! CONTROVERSIAL PIECE NOW OUTSIDE FUNERAL DIRECTORS.

Byline: ELIS SANDFORD News Reporter elis.sandford@trinitymirror.com @elis_sandford

IT is one of the most controversial tributes to Princess Diana.

But, love or hate Walsall's black Diana statue, it certainly provoked plenty of comment.

In fact, over the years its colour has changed several times.

It now stands outside a funeral directors in Bloxwich, near Walsall.

The statue most recently attracted attention when algae formations turned it green, a far cry from its first look.

It was originally sculpted by stonemason Andrew Walsh 17 years ago But a plan for the Indian black granite statue to have pride of place as a centrepiece for a burial art exhibition was scrapped after complaints by Earl Spencer, the younger brother of Princess Diana.

Local residents called for the statue to go on display at the New Art Gallery in Walsall, but the appeals were rejected by councillors, with a local MP noting that the statue "looked more like Diana Ross".

The statue was later dealt another blow whens the Queen refused permission for it to be displayed at Walsall bus station.

Mr Walsh decided to remove the veneer from the PS10,000 statue, to improve the overall look but was still unable to find it a home.

Now white, it was left to stand outside Strong Memorials on Park Road, Bloxwich, which is part of the Andrew Walsh funeral company.

The life-sized statue came under the spotlight once again in 2015, meeting with ridicule after it had turned green.

Moss and algae had formed on the statue, and local residents claimed that it looked more like Princess Fiona from Shrek than Princess Diana.

Once the attention again died down, the statue was cleaned, returning it to a grey-white state.

With the approach of the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's death, It continues to stand outside the funeral directors, where it looks to stay for the forseeable future.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 1, 2017
Words:317
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