THE race is on to secure funding to unite the Mowbray Park walrus with the carpenter from Lewis Carroll’s poem, after planning approval was granted for a new statue.
The Friends of Mowbray Park now have three years to install the statue, by sculptor Colin Wilbourn, or risk losing the £2,000 they have spent.
But to realise their vision, the group needs to come up with £90,000.
It is thought that Carroll wrote his poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter, having seen a stuffed walrus at Sunderland Museum.
The £34,000 bronze walrus has been in the park since 2000. However, a funding shortage has meant that his carpenter friend was unable to join him at the time.
The Friends were told by the Heritage Lottery Fund they were unlikely to get funding, as the statue was not part of a wider education scheme, so did not submit a bid.
The group’s chairman, Sylvia Smith, said she was pleased with the decision of Sunderland City Council’s planning department.
However, the group now needs to discuss what to do next.
She said: “I’m disappointed, obviously, but we’ve come to the decision we’ve got to cut our losses unless something else comes along.
“We’ve got a meeting on July 16, of the Friends, when we will be having a get-together and discussion to see if we are prepared to try again.
“There is no way we can raise that sort of cash ourselves.”