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New campaign to find stolen statue.

Byline: SARAH PORTLOCK

EFFORTS are being stepped up to trace a much-missed statue in Leamington.

The striking 8ft sculpture, called Miranda, was stolen from outside the main entrance of AP Hydraulics, in Tachbrook Road, in December, 2001.

Now, former employee Mike Doody, who is the new chairman of Warwick District Council, and Leamington's mayor Eithne Goode are leading a new campaign to try and get it back.

The Grade II statue, created by the late Arthur Fleischmann, was commissioned for the 1951 Festival of Britain. It features a mermaid reclining on a turtle and balancing some fish on her legs.

Mr Doody, who worked at the factory for 21 years, said he remembered sitting around the stature with colleagues at lunch times.

"Many colleagues will remember Miranda with affection.

"If the original cannot be found, then a replica will have to suffice.

"The connection with AP and the Festival of Britain makes Miranda extra special."

Mr Fleischmann's widow still has the mould and has given permission for Miranda to be replaced. The town council is looking into the costs.

But residents would rather have the original Miranda, which has a water feature, returned.

Cllr Goode (Lib Dem, Manor) said: "Miranda is a priceless, beautiful work of art and a part of the town's industrial history.

"It would be wonderful if she could be found or replaced."

One theory is that the statue was stolen to order and has since been shipped abroad.

A Warwickshire Police spokesman said Interpol had been informed and was investigating but, so far, there had been no positive leads.

The statue was commissioned by the Lockheed Hydraulic Brake Company and was installed in the centre of a 26ft pool, in Battersea Park, London.

After the festival, it was brought to Leamington.

CAPTION(S):

WHERE IS SHE? The mermaid statue, called Miranda, which was stolen, and (inset, left) Cllr Mike Doody who is heading a campaign to find the work
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 17, 2003
Words:323
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