Saucy Doncaster statue set for homecoming next week

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A risque and much missed iconic statue which sparked outrage when it was first unveiled is set to return to Doncaster town centre next week.

The ‘Lovers’ statue – which showed a naked couple embracing in a cascading waterfall – was the centrepiece of the Arndale Centre, now the Frenchgate Centre, up until the mid 1980s. The statue will return to the town centre on June 19, almost thirty years on from its last public display.

The artwork will be revealed in all its glory in the Waterdale Shopping Centre with a public unveiling ceremony getting underway at 2pm with the sculpture being lowered into place at 3pm.

The Lovers, the meeting place for thousands of Doncastrians in the 1960s, has recently undergone extensive restoration work to return it to its former glory.

Work has included restructuring the hands and feet, rewelding the internal fibre glass structure and recolouring. Richard Bannister, Yorkshire and North East Regional Manager for St. Modwen, owners of Waterdale, said: “We inherited the statue when we purchased the centre in late 2013. We recognise its importance to the local community, which is why we have worked with a local arts group to carry out the restoration. This is the perfect opportunity to welcome to the statue back to Doncaster.”

Amanda Hughes-Lubeck from restorers Artfuel said: “The statue was in a state of disrepair when we began the restoration work and it has taken a considerable amount of work to bring it back to its former glory. The statue is quite delicate so it is important that it is made sufficiently robust before going back on public display.”

The statue raised eyebrows when it was first unveiled at the centre’s opening in 1967. It was removed when the mall was transformed into the Frenchgate Centre in the 1980s and has spent much of the last three decades hidden away from public view in a garden in Bessacarr.