Help us save Saint Aidan

The statue of Saint Aidan was created by Kathleen Parbury in 1958 and is a beloved destination for many of the visitors to the Island.
Being exposed to the weather for the last 64 years has caused cracks and damage and we need your help to get it repaired. We need to raise approximately £10,000 to cover expert restoration so that the statue can continue to be an icon of Holy Island.

If every person who took a photograph of this beautiful statue donated £1 we'd be well on our way to our target.

Please donate by clicking on the image below.

So what's wrong with the statue?

Before COVID-19 we invited a specialist in Sculpture conservation and restoration to survey the statue of St. Aidan. Extracts of their report are shown below.

Condition Report.
Sculpture dimensions: H3,400mm x W2,100mm x D2,200mm (h,w,d)

The sculpture appears to have been constructed as two main sections, upper and lower halves. The external surface of the sculpture comprises of a red concrete mixed with coarse sand. A number of failing previous repairs can be seen on the sculpture surface, particularly in the areas where stress cracks are evident. This is most evident at the rear of the sculpture where the cross joins with St Aidan’s back.

Previous repairs evident at cross

The sculpture was initially documented thermographically in an attempt to observe any cracks and fissures in the structure that may not be obvious to the naked eye, as well as any potential internal structures. Unfortunately, this analysis did not provide us with any significant information.

Thermographic image of lower sinistral side of sculpture

A core sample was taken from the dextral side of the sculpture just below the drapery at the right arm in order to determine whether or not the sculpture is hollow, and what the internal structure of the sculpture was constructed from. Once the core sample had been taken, an endoscope was then used to see if any further details could be observed inside the sculpture.

Use of endoscope to explore internals of sculpture

Following this process it was determined that the sculpture was in fact more or less solid throughout. There are occasional small voids but these are most likely around the supports as the cement layers were built up. It appears from the sample taken that the internal cement mix does not contain as much red and is a light grey colour. It also appears that the sand used internally is finer, however this may not be uniform throughout the rest of the sculpture

There was evidence of a wooden structure within the sculpture and, when checked with a metal detector, it became clear that there are also numerous areas where metal work has been used as an internal armature. Due to the dense nature of the concrete the metal detector will not pick up metal work set deep into the sculpture but it gives us an idea of any metal fixings close to the sculpture surface.

There is one area in particular where there is clear evidence of a metal fixing/armature within the structure of the piece. At the proper right side of the cross head it was clear to see the presence of a ferrous dowel protruding from the end of the crossbar. The evident corrosion of this fixing and the resulting ferrous jacking has caused a stress crack within the concrete.

There was clear movement at this section and as such it was decided that it was safer to remove the broken section and bring it back to our workshop for safe-keeping. This also allowed us to examine the concrete a little further and it was clear from this that the fixing was badly corroded and runs right through the crossbar.

Ferrous dowel revealed following removal of loose section

Having seen the way in which the ferrous dowel runs through the crossbar there is little doubt that this same system has been used throughout the sculpture. There are a number of serious cracks throughout the sculpture and many of these will be as a result of ferrous jacking from the oxidizing internal fixing.

The following diagrams below display the areas of cracking and fracturing visible on the surface of the sculpture (red) as well as the areas of metal detection (green).