Stockton hospital's gold statue of pregnant returns after 50 years in storage

The gold pregnant statue is now in the maternity unit – in a glass casing with lighting and a plaque. Credit: North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

A statue of a pregnant woman which was moved from a hospital ward nearly 50 years ago has been returned following a campaign.

The gold statue, created by artist Eddie Hawking of his wife, Audrey, was last seen in the delivery unit at University Hospital of North Tees in 1974. It was removed after a petition against it.

Their son, Andy Hawking, 67, said: “That’s me, that little bump in there – I am quite emotional actually seeing it there.

“I am proud as punch, I think it’s marvellous. Mum and dad will be knocked out to see it now."

Since its removal, the statue has been in storage in 97-year-old Eddie’s home more than 250 miles away in Bristol.

Shaun Campbell, founder of the Arthur Wharton Foundation charity in Darlington started a campaign to have the statue returned to the ward.

He spoke to the trust and Mr Hawking, who agreed for it to be brought to Darlington to be restored.

He said: "I wanted to do the right thing. I rebuilt aspects of it myself, then I asked a friend called Dan Walls from Illuminations Art to spray it for me, updating its colour."

“I am thrilled it has finally arrived here.”

Mr Hawking said: “My dad was a prolific sculptor – he worked at the local college at that time and the sculpture was eventually placed in the hospital delivery unit.

"That is, until it was sadly removed soon after, following a petition."

Andy’s brother, Chris, 71, added: “It takes you back – my mum is quite frail now and she is 95 and my dad looks after her.

"But it takes you back to how she was, she was a strong woman as the sculpture shows.

“My dad is so pleased about it and it gives him so much pride.”

Jayne Ross, a former receptionist in the department, said: “When I heard about the story I had a bit of a cry. I thought it was a very romantic story.

“I love her – I now work in another maternity department but I make any excuse to come back to see her."

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