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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Reverend’s rhino plan to put town on the map

RHINOS could find new homes all around the ancient capital of Furness next summer.

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POINTING THE WAY: African white rhino Tala at South Lakes Wild Animal Park and, inset, one of Chester’s ‘Rhino Mania’ sculptures

The Reverend Alan Mitchell is overseeing the possible installation of 20 or so four-foot by three-foot rhino sculptures throughout Dalton in a bid to bring more tourists in to the town.

Mr Mitchell is hoping the sculptures will work as a complementary tourist attraction for visitors to nearby South Lakes Wild Animal Park.

The potential costs of the project are currently being worked out and he said the next stage would be for local businesses and people to purchase or sponsor the finished sculptures in a bid to raise money for local and national charities.

Mr Mitchell said: “I saw the statues in Liverpool, the Superlambanana ones, and thought perhaps we could do that in Dalton.

“I’ve always been concerned that the tourists signs pointing to the zoo feature elephants on them and there aren’t actually any elephants at the zoo. So I thought we could make some fibreglass ones and put them around the town.”

But following a chat with zoo boss David Gill, he then decided to make the most of one the zoo’s star attractions – the rhinos.

Mr Mitchell said: “The idea is to produce some fibreglass rhinos and invite schools, people and businesses in the town, or wider community, to decorate them.

“But it all depends on whether we can afford it. We’ve contacted a local firm and they are pricing it up for us at the moment.

“In other places things like this have proved a real attraction.

“It would only work if we had say 20 rhinos placed at significant points around the town leading up to the animal park. But that could be expanded to 50 or so if the project were to expand outside of Dalton.

“It would be good for the community of Dalton because it would give the visitors going up to the animal park something to stop in Dalton for.

“It would seem that the South Lakes Wild Animal Park is the most important tourist place in the South Lakes and I think the Dalton community haven’t taken full advantage of that.”

He also said that other projects of this nature have seen the sculptures auctioned off to raise money for charity, something he would look to do with the rhinos.

With the support of the community, Mr Mitchell said the sculptures could be rolled out next summer.

Tim Bell, chairman of the Dalton Traders and Business Association, said: “It is a very positive idea. It would bring a lot of colour to the town and it would be exciting to have a rhino trail to the animal park. “We all recognise the contribution the park has made to the area, in terms of putting Dalton on the map. The idea has got 120 per cent support from the traders.”

The rhino sculptures could be similar to the Cartmel Sheepy Village, which saw brightly-coloured fibreglass sheep invade the South Lakes village to raise money for charity in 2010.

Have your say

What a fantastic idea! It would really brighten up dalton and put this part of furness on the map. Why not include Barrow too? There are plenty of weird and wonderful places these sculptures could go.

Posted by Barrow Resident on 14 July 2011 at 18:36

Mr Gill will probably see them as taking away some of his trade.....Good for the vicar at least he tries his best for the town.

Posted by k.hardman on 13 July 2011 at 20:47

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