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Ford Becomes Millennium Green

Years of effort by a group of Coventry volunteers to rejuvenate a beauty spot came to fruition at the weekend, but thieves marred the occasion.

Ferrets and Morris Dancers mark the opening of the greenCanley Ford, near Kenilworth Road in Earlsdon, formally became a millennium green and will belong to the community for the next 999 years.

Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the work to improve the area on Saturday.

But yesterday the occasion was marred, with two unique sculptures installed in one of the wild meadows being stolen.

The carvings by Arts Exchange were due to be embedded in concrete today, but the thieves got there first.

Adrian Dyke, chairman of the Friends of Canley Ford, said it had soured the occasion.

He said:

“Hopefully we will be able to get them back as they were lovely pieces of arts.

“We have taken pictures of them so we will circulate them and see if someone recognises them.

“It is possible that it is just vandalism, and they might be in a hedge somewhere, so we shall continue to look for them.”

Despite the set-back, Mr Dyke said the weekend had been a great success, with a lot of people visiting the area to see the changes.

A bengal owl watches proceedingsThere were displays from Cotswold Falconry and local Morris troupe Elephant Up A Pole.

Nature groups including the Coventry Bee-keeping Association and Coventry City Farm brought along some examples of their work – including a hive of bees and some sheep, and there was also ferret racing.

Work to improve the wild meadows has been carried out at a cost of £140,000, most of which came from a special national lottery fund.

It included a new small waterfall in the ford area. The idea was to replace a waterfall removed in 1936 to make way for the new A45.

The steel KestrelOther sculptures have been installed, including an 8ft steel Kestrel by Walenty Pytel, who also has work on show at Birmingham Airport.

Youngsters were able to make boats out of Himalayan balsam growing in the area and fish for newts and other pond life.

Mr Dyke said:

“It was very popular. We designed it as a family day and hopefully some of the people who visited will come back here.

”We hope people will see it as a place to walk to, rather than come by car.

”The last two years have been quite busy. We still have some things to sort out, but we can take it a bit easier now.”

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the stolen carvings, or who wants to become involved with the Friends of Canley Ford, should contact Mr Dyke on 024 7667 2884.
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CWN / Environment / Friends Of Canley Ford / 26 Jun 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM