A working group to look at fundraising to purchase and reinstall the Henley mermaid statue was agreed to be formed at Tuesday’s Town & Community Committee (T&C) Town Council meeting.
The Henley Ama mermaid statue was installed in June 2013 and is one of 20 statues donated by the Noor Foundation around the world. The Henley mermaid is the only one in England. In November last year vandals cut off the screws which were holding it to the base and pushed it into the river. It was recovered undamaged a few days later by Cook Piling and since then has been stored by Henley Town Council awaiting a decision on it’s future by the T&C Committee.
In January 2018, the T&C Committee were presented with the choice of having it re-instated at no cost to the Council (responsibility for insuring it against theft and damage lies with the owner, Noor Foundation) and selling the statue for at least EUR 15,000 with EUR 5,000 going to a local charity, in accordance with the terms of the agreement. It was understood that there was a possible interested purchaser who would wish to keep the statue elsewhere at that time. Councillors chose to reinstall the statue.
Since this recommendation was approved Town Council Officers have ascertained the costs involved in reinstating the statue (£1 ,235, on top of the £780 salvaging cost already paid) and indicated them to the owner. This has led to further communication with the owner who has now expressed a preference for the Council itself to buy the statue for a reduced price of EUR 10,000 (circa £8,800) against which both costs could be deducted. The owner has indicated the regrettable need to suspend the statue project for personal reasons.
Councillors Sarah Miller and Samantha Evans will head up the new working group.