Wimbledon Stag Sculpture Is Unveiled

Destination Wimbledon project comes to an end

A new sculpture of a stag has been unveiled on Wimbledon Station forecourt, marking the end of the £2.5 million town centre improvement scheme.

The much-anticipated sculpture (right) is in place in time for it to greet half a million visitors to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships as they emerge from the station.

The piece of art is part of the 'Destination Wimbledon' project, which has been funded by Merton Council in partnership with Network Rail, South West Trains and Transport for London (TfL) to give the town centre a facelift.

Sculptor Isabelle Southwood (pictured with Mayor David Williams), who comes from Wimbledon, said she took her inspiration from Stag Lodge in Wimbledon Park. The stag stands on the station forecourt as if it had wandered down the hill, linking together Wimbledon town centre's heritage and its relationship with the Common.

Councillor Williams, who unveiled the artwork, said: "We are proud to welcome the stag to Wimbledon. We hope he will be as affectionately regarded as the Two Fat Ladies and become an iconic meeting place for years to come."

The stag was chosen by the public from a range of designs submitted by local artists. It has been paid for by a developer as part of an arts fund for the area.

Aside from improvements to the station forecourt, further town centre measures have included the reconfiguration of the junction of Wimbledon Bridge with Alexandra Road to enable a diagonal pedestrian crossing, new paving, tree planting and the installation of new street furniture.

Leigh Terrafranca, from the Wimbledon East Hillside Residents' Association, said the work had made the town centre more "welcoming to people who come here for the first time and a better place for all of us who live and work here".

Paul Windsor, chairman of the Love Wimbledon Improvement District, added: "The completion of the improvement works and the unveiling of a significant public work of art mark the beginning of an investment program, by the Wimbledon business community, to help generate a renewed civic pride in our wonderful town".

The unveiling event also included a dance performance by youngsters from the Wimbledon-based Dancebites Academy of Dance and Performing Arts (see below).

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June 21, 2012