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Sudbury's '101 Dalmatians landmark' restored

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 October 2015

Unveiling of the new centrepiece on the water trough in Sudbury. Left to right, artist Neil Luxton, Valery Wright, Sarah Reeve, John Sayers, Jack Owen and Cilla Elford.

Unveiling of the new centrepiece on the water trough in Sudbury. Left to right, artist Neil Luxton, Valery Wright, Sarah Reeve, John Sayers, Jack Owen and Cilla Elford.

A 19th Century horse trough which was mentioned in the book 101 Dalmatians has been restored to its former glory, thanks to the vision of a local councillor.

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The stone structure which originally included a water fountain has stood in a prominent location outside St Peter’s Church in Sudbury since it was presented to the town in 1882.

However in 1990, it was virtually demolished when a truck reversed into it. It was sent off for repair but came back the following year without its tower-like centre piece, which had been missing ever since.

Although the town council has kept the trough looking pretty over the years with colourful flowers, Sudbury stalwart and local councillor John Sayers always felt there was “something missing” from the landmark, which was made famous by Dodie Smith’s classic children’s novel.

So for the past three years, Mr Sayers has been pushing to secure funding for a replacement centrepiece.

Thanks to a sizeable donation from Sudbury Freemen’s Trust plus contributions from the Sudbury Society and the locality budgets of both Mr Sayers’ and fellow county councillor Colin Spence, his long-held dream has finally been realised.

Sudbury stonemason Neil Luxton and his colleague Tim Wright designed and created the new £9,000 focal point which was unveiled by town mayor Jack Owen at a special ceremony on Tuesday.

Mr Sayers said he was “absolutely delighted” with the final result, adding that it had been “one of his greatest wishes” to see the structure restored.

He said: “It was a very happy occasion and a nice contrast to the sadness caused by the recent fire.

“I’ve really had the idea in my head of restoring the trough since it came back minus its centrepiece in 1991 so it’s wonderful to see it finally finished.

“The link with the 101 Dalmatians has made it a talking point and now it is fully restored it can be included in the Sudbury tour for visitors - it will be an added tourist attraction.

“I’m really pleased with how it has turned out and compliments to all those involved with the design and funding for the project.”

Mr Owen said: “It’s really nice to have something restored that brings back a bit of Sudbury’s history. John has been working on this for a long time and he has finally achieved a 20 year ambition. The stone mason has made a wonderful job of it.”

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