Chainsaw artist carves tree stump into statue honouring Nelson in his Norfolk birthplace

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Forget Nelson's Column and Trafalgar Square - there's a new life-size statue of one of Britain's greatest heroes, this time in the village where he was born.

The tribute to Lord Nelson has been unveiled in Burnham Thorpe, where it is already drawing tourists from across the country.

The work was carved by chainsaw by sculptor Henry Hepworth-Smith, who transformed a diseased and dangerous maple tree into an enduring tribute to Norfolk's most famous son.

Mr Hepworth-Smith, from Fakenham, is completely self-taught and got into chainsaw carving 18 months ago. His day job is being a forester managing woodlands.

The new statue of Lord Nelson in Burnham Thorpe in Norfolk Credit: ITV Anglia

The statue is carved from a Norwegian maple that had suffered a phenomenon called summer branch drop.

Villagers were left with the prospect of an unsightly stump being left behind, or having to find the funds for it to be ground out.

Instead, they asked Mr Hepworth-Smith for his suggestions - and he came up with the idea of a sculpture.

He said: "I'm so proud because carving someone as important as Lord Nelson was massive. I'm so pleased with the outcome and pleased everyone loves it."

The Norwegian maple tree that became dangerous Credit: ITV Anglia

Holly Smith, treasurer of the Burnham Thorpe Playing Fields Committee, said the village was proud of the result.

"It was Henry's idea to do Lord Nelson and we think it is absolutely stunning. It is amazing," she said.

Henry Hepworth-Smith is building a reputation for his chainsaw carvings Credit: Henry Hepworth-Smith

At the nearby Lord Nelson pub they are delighted too as the statue is bringing in sightseers, some from as far away as Plymouth.

"It's fantastic, the number of people that have been here to see him, having their beer, looking at him, going over - it's amazing," said general manager Jessika Cross.

"It's just what the village needed."

Mr Hepworth-Smith said he was getting plenty of commissions as his reputation grows, and his work is about to go on show at the Red Dot Gallery in nearby Holt.

Sculpture of a crouching angel Credit: Henry Hepworth-Smith