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Coastal wolf sculpture goes walkies

PUBLISHED: 12:34 11 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:44 11 August 2019

The wooden sculpture of the wolf that stands in front of Old Hunstanton Lighthouse. Picture: Ian Burt

The wooden sculpture of the wolf that stands in front of Old Hunstanton Lighthouse. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

A coastal landmark has disappeared from its windswept lair, sparking speculation it has gone walkies.

Retired builder Mick Smith is restoring the Hunstanton wolf in his garage. Picture: Chris BishopRetired builder Mick Smith is restoring the Hunstanton wolf in his garage. Picture: Chris Bishop

But the life-sized wooden wolf, which has guarded the Chapel Ruins at Hunstanton for more than 10 years, has been taken away for repairs.

The carving, which was suffering from the ravages of the weather, is being restored by retired builder Mick Smith and helpers at the town's Heritage Centre.

Mr Smith, 72, noticed its base had cracked, along with one of its legs, two weeks ago. The animal, which was carved by artist Jean Mulligan, is now being reinforced with metal straps before being treated with wood preservative.

Mr Smith hopes to have it back in place, near the lighthouse, by the end of the month.

Retired builder Mick Smith is restoring the Hunstanton wolf in his garage. Picture: Chris BishopRetired builder Mick Smith is restoring the Hunstanton wolf in his garage. Picture: Chris Bishop

"You've got to look after things like this," he said. "It's a beautiful thing."

The wolf commemorates the legend of King Edmund, who is said to have brought Christianity to East Anglia. He waded ashore at Hunstanton to claim the kingdom of East Anglia in 854AD.

But the Vikings had other ideas and attacked Norfolk in 869, led by the fearsome Ivar the Boneless. Edmund and his forces engaged them near Diss but were defeated by the Danes.

Edmund was tortured and shot by many arrows. When he refused to renounce his faith, his captors beheaded him and his head was thrown down in the forest.

The carved wolf commemorating the legend of St Edmund, near the spot where he landed in Hunstanton. Picture: Ian Burt.The carved wolf commemorating the legend of St Edmund, near the spot where he landed in Hunstanton. Picture: Ian Burt.

Days later, Edmund's followers found his body on a rubbish tip and began the search for his head so he could be given a decent burial.

They found a wolf guarding it, to prevent it being scavenged by the animals of the forest and took it away to be buried.

The Hunstanton wolf which Mick Smith is restoring in his garage. Picture: Chris BishopThe Hunstanton wolf which Mick Smith is restoring in his garage. Picture: Chris Bishop

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