Concern over Long Man 'desecration'

THE LONG Man of Wilmington has had a phallus painted on it and efforts are being made to remove the heavy-duty paint as soon as possible.

The addition appeared on Friday morning (June 18) and was spotted by many dog walkers and motorists driving along the A27.

While it raised a smile and giggle among some passers-by, others have been upset by the vandalism and the Sussex Archaeological Society, which is responsible for the historical site, is now working to remove the outline.

John Manley, chief executive of the society, said, "We are concerned about the recent addition to the Long Man. It is an act of vandalism and we are currently working out the best way to remove it."

He said The Long Man is a scheduled ancient monument and legally protected. The Sussex Archaeological Society will therefore be reporting the vandalism to the police.

This is not the first time the Long Man has been vandalised in this way but the latest outline has been painted in the white paint used for football pitches and cannot be removed easily.

Mr Manley said the society had been seeking advice from various organisations, including English Heritage, and was hoping to remove the outline as soon as possible. He said it was not just a historical site but an important site to groups such as the Pagans.

He added, "In that sense it is an act of desecration."

Kevin Carlyon, a white witch from St Leonards, often visits the Long Man of Wilmington to carry out fertility ceremonies and has done various spells at the site in the past.

He said, "I think it is despicable."

Kevin went up to the Long Man on Monday night (June 21) and held a small ceremony at the site. He said one of the main reasons for ceremony was to ward off further attempts of vandalism. The local Pagan community has also expressed its disappointment about the vandalism.

Adam Ranger, of Stone Cross, said, "This act was not carried out by the local Pagan community as part of our Summer Solstice celebrations.

"We love the Long Man site and to us it has become a special place where we gather several times a year to celebrate the turning seasons.

No-one in our group would consider it appropriate or funny to vandalise the Long Man figure in any way. A few years ago when Trinny and Susannah were filming at the site, it was several members of our group who led the protest against what we felt was inappropriate activity at the Long Man site and the potential damage that could be caused by a hundred people climbing all over the figure."

Following the vandalism, Adam has raised concerns that the Sussex Archaeological Society has not put appropriate fencing and signs around the Long Man.

Mr Manley said, "There is a fence at the bottom of the Long Man that is in need of repair. Unfortunately, that fence is not on our property.

"We can't fence off the Long Man completely because it has to be grazed by sheep to stop it from becoming overgrown."