‘Judo Players’ to get new home

DERRY City Council is planning to hand over £5,000 to repair a famous sculpture by celebrated Banbridge-born sculptor F.E. McWilliam.

‘Judo Players’, which had been loaned out for the opening of the FE McWilliam Gallery, is to be placed on show at the planned new North West Regional Sports Campus at St Columb’s Park.

Earlier this year it was revealed that the piece had been left sitting close to the city’s main dump. In February, the famous sculpture was spotted in a corner of the Derry City Council depot at Pennyburn Industrial Estate.

At the time, Derry’s Town Clerk, Sharon O’Connor, immediately requested a “more suitable temporary storage location for this symbolic art piece”.

In preparation for the placing of the sculpture at the new sports centre, a “conditions report” was commissioned and, as a result, it was proposed to have the work refurbished and to replace a missing hand which had become detached due to the “poor quality of the weld”.

The plan is to have the hand re-molded and re-cast before the art work surface is re-conditioned. This work will have to be approved by the FE McWilliam estate.

It’s estimated the repair will cost approximately £5,000.