In a letter published in July’s Heritage Railway, Gresley Society Chairman David McIntosh speaks out against statue campaigners and a contributor to the Society’s fund-raising appeal who expressed his disagreement with the decision to remove the mallard from the statue.
McIntosh is already on the record¹ as saying children are not a target audience for the Gresley Society’s efforts.
It seems from the letter that the Society is in fact solely concerned with ‘long-term supporters’ (whatever that means), and ‘the family’ (aka Gresley’s grandsons).
It is difficult to see how this stance can be reconciled with the Gresley Society’s charitable objects: THE ADVANCEMENT OF EDUCATION OF THE PUBLIC IN PARTICULAR BY THE PROMOTION OF INTEREST IN THE LIFE AND WORKS OF SIR NIGEL GRESLEY IN THE FIELD OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING.
1. The Gresley Society’s statement on the statue row includes the following:
“When we began to receive significant adverse comments on the presence of a duck at the feet of Sir Nigel from our President, all ten Vice-Presidents and senior officers at other related organisations, we quickly realised that we could not proceed without a careful re-appraisal of the project.
We are also aware that artistic opinion is by no means unanimous that a modern statue needs something ‘extra’ in order to attract attention.
Equally we have never regarded small children as a target market for our work.”