Winston locks away Elephant & Castle pub statue
A statue from an historic Wolverhampton pub is being kept under lock and key more than a year after it was restored to its former glory.
The statue from the Elephant & Castle pub was restored after being found in a heap of fly-tipped rubbish.
The finder, Winston Aplin, has been unable to find a buyer prepared to keep it and display it in Wolverhampton.
In December last year, he said that he turned down two offers worth more than £50,000 to buy the elephant statue. He rejected the bids because the statue would have been removed from the city.
The Elephant & Castle statue, which once graced the entrance of the city pub with the same name, was found after being dumped seven years ago. It was feared lost forever when the once-popular venue in Stafford Street was demolished virtually overnight in April 2001, despite a storm of controversy.
Father-of-two Mr Aplin, of Bushbury, had it restored last year and has put it up for sale. But he has vowed that the eventual buyer must be willing to display it publicly in Wolverhampton.
Last year Steve Swift, of Coven Body Repairs, spent 180 hours and £5,000 restoring the statue which Mr Aplin then tried to sell.
Despite setting up a website to advertise the statue and its history, 42-year-old Mr Aplin has now had to put the statue into storage.
His partner, Lisa Manderson, aged 38, said: "It's being kept safe under lock and key.
"Winston isn't too concerned about when he sells it as it is something that is no trouble to just keep.
"He is determined that it will stay in Wolverhampton but so far no-one locally has asked to buy it. He could easily have sold it if he was prepared for it to go somewhere else.
"A lot of people ask us about what's happening with it.
"I think they would like to see it up on display somewhere."
Richard Rhodes, chairman of Wolverhampton Civic Society, said he thought the statue was not worth £50,000 in the first place.
"It is very important that this statue does not leave Wolverhampton but the figure being suggested is, I think, too high," he said.
"I would not like to venture a figure, but I do think the owner needs to consider a significant reduction.
"A lot of people have said they would like to see the elephant sitting above Beatties department store in the city centre alongside the other elephants that were carved into the building."
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