Long Man to be used in protest of ‘family law’

The Long Man of Wilmington was repainted by local Scouts led by the 1st Hellingly group as part of the Scouts Community Week. June 1st 2013 E23066P ENGSUS00120130306094353

The Long Man of Wilmington was repainted by local Scouts led by the 1st Hellingly group as part of the Scouts Community Week. June 1st 2013 E23066P ENGSUS00120130306094353

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Campaign group New Fathers 4 Justice has said it will cover the Long Man of Wilmington in a Batman cape and mask.

The group contacted the Gazette and said it plans to use the hill figure in its protest ‘against the present family court system’.

A spokesman said, “We are taking the unusual step of giving you advance notice of this protest after a confrontation with a local pagan in the early hours of Friday morning whilst we were rechecking our measurements.

“New Fathers 4 Justice activists from the Home Counties are planning to cover The Long Man of Wilmington with a Batman cape and mask in a protest against the present family court system.

“We will be using a lightweight black plastic material similar to that used by farmers.

“The protest will also include a 37m plastic banner which will read ‘Stop the war on Dads’.”

The spokesman said ‘we are aware of opposition’ but ‘expect to be given the freedom to protest’.

The group did not specify when it plans to carry out the protest.

Activists pulled off a similar stunt at the site in 2010 prior to Fathers’ Day.

The group, New Fathers 4 Justice campaigns for equal rights for fathers in divorce and separation proceedings and reform of the family courts.

The spokesman said it is a splinter group and not associated with Matt O’Connor or Fathers4Justice UK.

In response to the news, a spokeswoman from the Sussex Archeological Society which looks after the ancient monument urged the group not to go ahead with its plans.

She said, “The Long Man as you are aware is a wonderful piece of cultural heritage and a valued feature of the landscape of The South Downs National Park looked after by The Sussex Archaeological Society and protected as a scheduled ancient monument.

“He is a fragile and irreplaceable element of our cultural heritage located in an extremely sensitive environment where even minor erosions can cause long term damage.

“As guardians of this monument we would ask that New Fathers 4 Justice consider the interests of others who value him and respect ours in preserving our historic Sussex.”

The society said although there is no historical evidence for when the Long Man was created, many people believe it dates back to prehistoric times.

Visit www.sussexpast.co.uk for more information.