Huge 26ft statue of a naked man stops traffic as locals ridicule the artwork


Some residents say East Anglia’s Angel of the North will end up causing an accident while others describe the Yoxman statue as “impressive”

The Yoxman statue stands at 26ft high in East Suffolk
The Yoxman statue stands at 26ft high in East Suffolk

A giant bronze statue of a naked man hailed East Anglia’s Angel of the North, erected at the side of a busy road is now causing major traffic disruption as people stop to mock it.

The 26ft high Yoxman has been turning the heads of motorists driving past on the A12 in East Suffolk, sparking concerns that it will one day cause an accident.

Scores of people have been stopping in a lay-by to marvel at the well-endowed sculpture which stands at Cockfield Hall in Yoxford.

Likened to a “wounded giant”, it was created by sculptor Laurence Edwards who lives in the village and was inspired by the nearby bogs and woodland.

Since it was unveiled in November 2021, the artwork has divided residents with some labelling it a road safety hazard and others praising its design.

Mr Edwards said he wanted the surface to “reflect the gnarly bark of ancient oaks”
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Image:

East Anglia News Service)

Villagers can also catch a glimpse of the statue from the high street
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Image:

East Anglia News Service)

One villager told Mail Online : “It is a marvellous sculpture and is very impressive but it could end up causing an accident as it is distracting motorists.

“The A12 is a very busy road and people can’t help looking at a depiction of a naked man in all his glory as they are driving past.”

Others on social media said it was a “bit daft to put it by the A12” and that “surely it’s a traffic hazard.”

While others welcomed the statue with one person admiring it as “our very own Angel of the East”.

“On route along the A12 so had to stop to take a photo of the Yoxman at Yoxford,” one person commented.

Another person said “pretty stunning” after pulling into the once-quiet lay-by with fellow bemused drivers.

Mr Edwards likened his creation to a “wounded giant perhaps contemplating the mystery of the lake in front of him.”

Drivers are stopping at a lay-by opposite the sculpture to photograph it
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Image:

East Anglia News Service)

The Yoxman was intended to be a “major landmark for the region” and an attraction for tourists, according to a planning application approved by East Suffolk Council.

Yoxford Parish Council chairman Russell Pearce said: “It has settled into the landscape quite well. I think it is fantastic, so I am biased.

“Some people are negative and say they don’t like it and don’t see the point of it. But the number of people who stop in the lay-by to look at it is incredible.

“I like the fact that you can see it as you drive past, and if you are in the High Street you can catch a glimpse of it in the gaps between houses.”

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Mr Edwards, who worked on the project for four years, told how he wanted its surface to “reflect the gnarly bark of ancient oaks” growing nearby and compared its arms to tree branches.

Councillors said the artwork added “a sense of drama” to the parkland of Cockfield Hall which is Grade I listed and dates back to the 16th century.

The statue is located within its grounds which will become part of the Wilderness Reserve holiday retreat, founded by property billionaire Jon Hunt.

The Foxtons co-founder is thought to be worth £1.345 billion and the UK’s 126th richest person, according to the latest iteration of the Sunday Times Rich List.

His Wilderness Reserve business rents out luxury cottages and country houses on his private estate and has welcomed the likes of comedian Jack Whitehall and Made in Chelsea stars.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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