BILL AND BEN: Recognition due to John

I read with interest your article about the return of ‘Bill and Ben’ to Ridley Park in Blyth (News Post Leader, July 9).

Most of us who grew up in Blyth in the 1960s, 70s and 80s will remember them fondly, seeing them every time we went to the park, so it is great to see them on show once again.

However, I feel I need to correct your article somewhat.

Bill and Ben had lain abandoned for many years in the old cricket pavilion in the park and were only discovered when my cousin, Nicola Mowbray (Kelly), opened her cafe, Ivy @ The Park, in 2011. When she discovered Bill and Ben in a state of disrepair, she asked my dad, John Mowbray, if he could do anything to restore them.

My dad took up the challenge and spent months carefully and faithfully restoring them to their former glory, making every attempt to keep them looking like they originally were.

Unfortunately, the original ‘Weed’ had been lost so my dad had to create a completely new one. Indeed, your newspaper featured the return of Bill and Ben in 2011.

I don’t personally know Ken Park, but I believe that he later repaired Bill and Ben when some of the flower pots on their legs were broken. I also believe that he removed the ‘flower pot legs’ and replaced them with wooden ones made to resemble flower pots.

It would be nice if you could give my dad his well-deserved recognition for saving these iconic characters from destruction in 2011, and spending so much of his time carefully restoring them to their former glory so that, hopefully, they may be enjoyed by many generations of children to come.

Steven Mowbray

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