Work under way to give Tommy statue a permanent base

Seaham's Tommy sculpture is lifted so a new permanent base can be installed
Seaham's Tommy sculpture is lifted so a new permanent base can be installed
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Work is under way to ensure Tommy is grounded for good on his seafront spot.

The First World War inspired sculpture by South Hetton artist Ray Lonsdale was bought by the public after his initial loan to Seaham captured the hearts of the community.

A committee rallied round to raise the £85,000 needed to keep Eleven O One, named Tommy by fans, a permanent feature on the Terrace Green.

Now efforts have begun to give the 1.2tonne steel artwork a long-term base, with the huge number of visitors causing the ground around his feet to turn to mud.

A time capsule is also being put together by the committee to create a keepsake for a future generations.

The first phase of work by Seaham Town Council has seen Tommy lifted to allow the plot to be paved, with Steve Witten of George Street Garage and East Durham Roundtable supporting the efforts and a donation of concrete made by Andy Burns of Webarrow-4-U.

The council had asked the Mission 1101 funding committee for a donation of £4,300 to cover materials.

But after the group asked for a show of opinion via Facebook, stating the move would leave it no money to fund CCTV, the council has said it will pay the bill.

Paul Fletcher, deputy town clerk, said: “We requested the funds towards paving and concrete as part of security issues.

“Now we will find it through the parks budget.”