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By Donald Turvill
Annan and Eskdale
New homes sought for sculptures

AN ARTIST is offering his sculptures to towns and villages in the region free of charge after work on display in his hometown was targeted by vandals.

Over the past few years sculptor Paul Cowan has been placing his artwork along the footpath between Annan and Newbie to create a ‘sculpture trail’.

“It originally started because I was my dad’s primary carer when he had dementia,” Paul said. “He was born and was brought up in Newbie and I used to take him down there when he was ill and we’d sit on this old rickety bench down at the shore; it was falling apart, and when he died I left it a wee while and thought that a great way of remembering him would be to make new bench just for us and place it down at the shore. That got me thinking that it would be nice to have a sculpture trail between Annan and Newbie along the path.”

Until recently, the trail was home to 34 sculptures all designed and crafted by the artist.

He said: “Some of them are carved into pieces of wood that are left there some are warped into the trees, I did some carving down at the foreshore on the old pier and that’ll never move.”

Paul added there is “always going to be” some of his work along the path, but said recent incidents have led him to reclaim some of his pieces.

“Quite often they were getting pushed over,” he said. “But what tipped it over the edge was the heron. Somebody got in touch with me and said it was damaged, so I went and they must have wrenched it backwards and forwards about 30 or 40 times. It was bolted on to the solid concrete and they’d rattled it backwards and forwards and it was lying at a 45 degree angle, so it was ready to fall and it’s a heavy sculpture; as soon as I saw that one and it was vandalism I just thought ‘sod it’.”

Paul added that the culprits have “spoiled it for the rest of Annan”.

But the episode has inspired the 57-year-old to put forward a generous offer to other communities in the region seeking some artistic pizzazz.

He said: “What I’m going to do now is offer any town or village in Dumfries and Galloway who wants to take a sculpture and promise to look after it, and they can have it for free. Any single town in the whole of Dumfries and Galloway except Annan.”

Paul urged any interested parties to get in touch, adding: “If you are prepared to look after them you can have them.”

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