Wigan rugby statue needs more clean-up work

A supermarket giant has pledged to do more to clean up a sculpture marking the sporting heritage of its Wigan site, after complaints about its condition.

Friday, 6th November 2020, 7:00 am
The statue is near the entrance to the Tesco Extra car park

Lifelong rugby fan Chris McVeigh contacted the Observer last September to highlight the poor state of the sculpture outside Tesco Extra, on Central Park Way.

He said it was “disrespectful”, particularly as the statue marks not just the location of Wigan Warriors’ former stadium but also commemorates people whose ashes were scattered there.

When contacted by the Observer last year, a spokesman for Tesco said the sculpture would be cleaned “as soon as possible” and the maintenance team was “in the process” of finding a contractor to do the work.

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But 14 months later, Mr McVeigh contacted the Observer again to say how upset he was that the work had still not been carried out.

Mr McVeigh, 74, said: “I’m disappointed that they haven’t cleaned it yet. It’s not only me, it’s 12 months since I raised it and umpteen people have said it’s no different.

“They are disrespecting the people whose ashes were scattered there. They’re not bothered.”

Mr McVeigh, who lives in Aspull, said he had repeated his request for the sculpture to be cleaned to Tesco staff at both the supermarket and in head office.

The rugby ball-shaped bronze sculpture, named The Home of Rugby League, was designed by sculptor Joanne Risley and commissioned by Tesco.

Thousands of rugby league fans once went past that spot to watch Wigan RL matches and the stadium meant so much to some people that their ashes were scattered there after their death.

Despite Mr McVeigh’s belief that the work had not been done, a spokesman for Tesco insisted the statue was cleaned last year.

However, he admitted that more needed to be done to bring it up to scratch.

He said: “The statue at our Wigan Extra is really important to us and despite the work we did to clean it last year it now requires further specialist maintenance so we’ll be using a third party contractor to do this in January as part of other works at the store.”

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