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Wolf returns to Hunstanton cliffs

PUBLISHED: 10:48 28 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:23 28 August 2019

Tony Armstrong (left) and Mick Smith with the wolf, which has been returned to its lair near the lighthouse  Picture: Chris Bishop

Tony Armstrong (left) and Mick Smith with the wolf, which has been returned to its lair near the lighthouse Picture: Chris Bishop

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A wooden wolf which commemorates a blood-curdling legend has returned to its cliff-top lair.

Mick Smith with the wolf at Hunstanton lighthouse  Picture: Chris BishopMick Smith with the wolf at Hunstanton lighthouse Picture: Chris Bishop

The carved creature had stood guarding the ruins of St Edmund's Chapel at Hunstanton for more than a decade.

But parts of its base were rotting and one of its legs had cracked. So retired builder Mick Smith, 72, and fellow volunteers from the town's heritage centre took the animal off for repairs in Mr Smith's garage.

Three weeks later Mr Smith and retired carpenter Tony Armstrong, 75, brought it home.

Tony Armstrong (left) and Mick Smith ease the wolf back into position by the lighthouse at Hunstanton  Picture: Chris BishopTony Armstrong (left) and Mick Smith ease the wolf back into position by the lighthouse at Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

"It's had loads and loads of preservative, I've put straps under it and dowels in the base," said Mr Smith. "It was full of woodlice and earwigs, they were still coming out of it after two weeks.

"This has caused so much interest, people have been asking me 'what's that' when they see it in my garage, so I told them that's the wolf."

Mr Smith - whose nickname around town is now Wolfy - admitted restoring the creature had been a labour of love as he bolted it down to its plinth.

The wolf arrives back at its lair  Picture: Chris BishopThe wolf arrives back at its lair Picture: Chris Bishop

The wolf, carved out of a section if oak trunk by artist Jean Mulligan, commemorates the legend of the martyr King Edmund.

He is said to have brought Christianity to the region when 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.

The wolf on its way through Hunstanton  Picture: Chris BishopThe wolf on its way through Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

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.

Edmund's followers later found his body on a rubbish tip and went looking for his head so he could be given a decent burial.

They found a wolf guarding it, to prevent it being scavenged and took it away to be buried.

The wolf makes its way down Hunstanton High Street  Picture: Chris BishopThe wolf makes its way down Hunstanton High Street Picture: Chris Bishop

The wolf is loaded onto a trailer after being restored in Mick Smith's garage  Picture: Chris BishopThe wolf is loaded onto a trailer after being restored in Mick Smith's garage Picture: Chris Bishop

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

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

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



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