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Olympic cycling sculpture chosen for Dorking, council may turn to public to help fund it

Councillor's 'sponsor a leaf' idea would see 200 people paying £40 each towards cost...

Cycling fans and Surrey residents may be given a chance to have their names preserved for posterity on a sculpture being commissioned by Mole Valley District Council to commemorate the Olympic road race passing through the borough this summer.

The council plans to install a striking sculpture of two cyclists by artist Heather Burrell at the A24/Pixhams Lane roundabout in Dorking in time for the races this July, reports the Leatherhead Advertiser. Both the men's and women's races will pass the location on their way to the Box Hill loop that forms the centrepiece of the route.

Burrell’s design, which envisages a sculpture 2.4 metres tall and 4 metres in length, was chosen on Tuesday evening from three submissions by a committee comprising local councillors, business people and youngsters, reports the newspaper.

It’s not the first time the artist has designed a sculpture to commemorate a major cycling event. Another of her works, Leaf Cyclist, stands in Rotherhithe on the route Stage 1 of the Tour de France took in 2007 on its way to Canterbury.

The proposed work for Dorking similarly incorporates 200 leaves into the design, and Caroline Salmon, the councillor responsible for the project, envisages that part of the £20,000 cost can be met by members of the public sponsoring a leaf at a cost of £40 each.

That would raise £10,000, with Mole Valley District Council having already awarded an identical sum to the project. 

"I am happy we have made what does seem to be a fair decision,” Councillor Salmon told the newspaper. “I always knew it was going to be close and it was.

"By going out to lots of different organisations we have got lots of different views, but the general view is that they want something that is representative of cycling.

"I have now got to work out a way for us to raise the money. I am going to have to have a really big push but the public seem to be supportive.

"If we get it up before the Olympics I will be very, very happy."

Theo Robertson-Bonds, chairman of Mole Valley Youth Voice, commented: "I think it was brilliant that so many groups were involved in this unique project and I really look forward to seeing the plan being put in place to be enjoyed by my generation and many generations to come."

The planned location of the sculpture lies close to the Denbies Wine Estate, whose managing director, Chris White, said:  managing director of Denbies, said: "I think it is a great idea that there is something on the roundabout. We're happy to go with the popular consensus and it is in keeping with the local area."

The next step is for a formal planning application to be submitted to Mole Valley District Council, whose planning department should discuss the proposals in April.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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