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IN PICTURES: Car smashes into miner statue causing £5,000 damage

Staffordshire | News | Published:

A hit-and-run driver ploughed into the new miners' memorial in Rugeley causing £5,000 of damage.

The driver smashed into one of the four concrete sculptures on the Globe Island, breaking one of its arms off.

The crash also destroyed the town's Christmas tree just hours after the official light switch and a road sign.

The miners statues on the traffic island at the A460 junction in Rugeley

The nine-foot concrete sculptures on the roundabout are dedicated to the miners of Lea Hall and Brereton collieries and were only installed in September at a cost of £55,000. Artist Andy De Comym, who created the four sculptures which portray miners throughout the ages, revealed it could cost up to £5,000 to repair the damage.

The damaged miner statue on the traffic island
Damage to the statue

"It is a real shame but thankfully I think the damage is repairable," Mr De Comyn said.

"I will try and repair it in my studio but it will be after Christmas and could take weeks. I imagine there is £5,000 worth of damage.

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"The people of Rugeley are so passionate and have really taken them to their hearts. It is such a shame this has happened when the island looked so beautiful for Christmas."

Mr De Comyn is considering asking Cannock Chase Council to install bollards along the edge of the roundabout to stop it happening again.

The miners' memorial took 18 months to create but now the damaged statue, representing one of the early colliery workers, will have to be removed. The statue, which weighs up to 2,000kg, will have to be taken back to the studio.

It recognises the town's once thriving mining industry and commemorates former pit workers including 115 pitmen who were killed whilst working underground.

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The sculptures were officially unveiled by Cannock Chase Council chairwoman Maureen Freeman in September. The launch was attended by more than 2,000 people.

Alex Smith, secretary of Lea Hall and Brereton Collieries Memorial Society, who spearheaded the memorial project, said: "We are just very disappointed."

A Staffordshire Police statement said: "The vehicle involved did not stop following the collision which occurred at around 2.15am on Saturday, November 28 on the island on Western Springs Road. The lower right arm of the statue was destroyed and part of a leg damaged. Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to call Staffordshire Police on 101."

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