Villagers split over 26ft bronze statue of NAKED man dubbed 'East Anglia's Angel of North'

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The piece which has been labelled “East Anglia’s Angel of the North” was created by sculptor Laurence Edwards. The statue has been likened to a “wounded giant”, has seen scores of people stopping in a lay-by opposite the sculpture in order to capture a picture of the artwork. However, it has since left locals split, with some describing the sculpture as a road safety hazard and others hailing it as “very impressive.”

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

They added: “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.”

Meanwhile, a social media user said: “Seems a bit daft to put it by the A12, surely it’s a traffic hazard. Drivers looking at that and not the traffic, or where they’re going.”

However many have welcomed the statue, with one East Anglian admirer describing it as: “Our very own Angel of the East”.

One user wrote: “Drove past the incredible Yoxman statue at Cockfield Hall on the A12 at Yoxford at the weekend. It was installed in November and was made by the Suffolk artist Laurence Edwards. Just amazing. Have you seen it?”

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

Meanwhile, another social media user added: “My first encounter with Yoxman bronze by Laurence Edwards in the grounds of 17th century Cockfield Hall where we join bemused drivers pulling in to a once quiet lay-by on the A12 in Yoxford to admire the 8m high statue in its newly landscaped lakeside setting. Pretty stunning!”

The statue is on the grounds of Cockfield Hall which is set to form part of the Wilderness Reserve luxury holiday retreat, created by property billionaire Jon Hunt.

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It was created by sculptor Laurence Edwards who lives in the village and drew inspiration for it from the bogs and woodland of the East Suffolk coast.

Mr Edwards said he wanted its surface to “reflect the gnarly bark of ancient oaks growing in the parkland around Yoxford” with its arms likened to “oaken branches”.

He likened it to “a wounded giant perhaps, contemplating the mystery of the lake in front of him, awed by landscape aware of his fragility, an appropriate message for our time”.

A planning application for the sculpture described it as “a large scale showpiece work for east Suffolk.”

It stated that it was intended to be “a major landmark for the region – an attraction for tourists and locals seeking cultural and rural recreation and relaxation”.

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The application, which was approved by East Suffolk Council, said that the sculpture was meant to be “tantalising, serving as a beacon for what is possible in the region”.

Councillors welcomed it as being “highly appropriate” and adding “a sense of drama” to the parkland of Grade One listed Cockfield Hall – which dates back to the 16th century.

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.

“People have likened it to being Suffolk’s answer to the Angel of the North. It is certainly encouraging more visitors to the village who have just come to see it.”

Last year Mr Edwards, who spent four years working on the project, described the sculpture as “the Green Man of our age”.

He told the BBC: “It can almost be seen by my house.

“He’s a Green Man for our age, a lightning rod for loads of issues about ecology and what we are doing to this planet.”



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