‘Jaws’ sinks his teeth into swan sculpture

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Hand-woven sculptures of local wildlife have been made to go on display at tourist information centres over the Easter holidays.

In Berwick there is a mute swan because the Tweed is home to the second largest colony of the species in Britain, while there is a puffin in Seahouses and a red squirrel in Wooler.

They have been hand-weaved from wire sheet by sculpture artist and Bond villain ‘Jaws’ lookalike, Gary Tiplady who, at a height of 7ft 3in, can’t find gloves to fit his hands.

He said: “I wanted to create sculptures for the Northumberland tourist information centres which are based on animals associated with each town.

“By far the most challenging sculpture to make was the Percy Lion because of the intricate work in all the curls and twists and my favourite one has to be the little tern.

“I hope by exhibiting my sculptures more people will become aware of their nearest tourist information centre and it encourages people to come inside and visit them.”

TIC staff are encouraging the public to visit their nearest centre to have a look at the sculptures and help to plan their Easter activities.

Councillor Val Tyler, policy board member for community and infrastructure at Northumberland County Council, said: “The sculptures are absolutely beautiful and I was very impressed with the hard work and craftsmanship which has gone into each and every one.

“In Northumberland we are lucky to have such an array of wildlife associated with the different areas of our county. I would encourage everyone to go and visit their local tourist information centre to have a look at these incredible sculptures for themselves, and ask our friendly staff for help or recommendations to enjoy our county over Easter.”

Other sculptures include a mallard duck in Morpeth, a black face sheep in Bellingham, a Percy lion in Alnwick, a duck in Corbidge, an otter in Hexham, a curlew in Haltwhistle, an arctic tern in flight in Amble and a lobster in Craster.

While visiting a tourist information centre to view the sculptures, staff can also advise people on activities and provide discounted tickets for admission to attractions and events in the county.

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