Vandalised horse sculpture given a safe haven in centre
ONE of the horse sculptures which was supposed to celebrate Cheltenham's historic racing links has been moved inside for its own safety.
The horse, which was designed by well-known mosaic craftswoman Carrie Reichardt and artist Nick Reynolds, had occupied a prestigious spot in the Long Gardens opposite the Municipal Offices.
But it has been put into the Beechwood Shopping Centre following vandalism.
It is one of 10 statues which form a trail from Montpellier through the town centre to Cheltenham Racecourse to mark Cheltenham National Hunt Festival's 100th anniversary.
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Sadly, it's not the only one which has been attacked. Bishop's Cleeve artist PJ Crook said she was "disappointed" when the tail was ripped off her horse stationed outside Cavendish House.
A third horse, which is in Imperial Gardens, has been damaged by vandals climbing on to it. It is set to be moved to the Royal Well, where it can be monitored by CCTV.
Beechwood Shopping Centre's new addition was sponsored by John Baker. The 81-year-old father of Cheltenham Town Football Club chairman Paul Baker was so upset his horse was vandalised he said he was prepared to make a £500 charitable donation if anyone came forward with information. He upped the reward to £1,000 after hearing about the damage to PJ Crook's horse.
He said he has greater confidence that it will be safe in its new location.
"The centre is locked up at night and when it's open there will be a lot of people around," he said.
"I don't think anything is certain these days but I feel pretty confident."
Sophie Wilson, of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, who came up with the idea for the trail, said: "It is quite upsetting to have to move this horse indoors.
Beechwood centre manager Owen Acland said: "It's a shame that art exhibits like this have been vandalised around the town considering all the work that's gone in to creating them.
"But we were more than happy to help out when the art gallery contacted us because now it will be in full view of all the shoppers who come into Beechwood."