A protest planned at the Long Man of Wilmington by New Fathers 4 Justice has been postponed after a heartfelt plea from a young Scout.
The campaign group planned to cover the Long Man in a Batman cape and mask, in a protest against family law.
A New Fathers 4 Justice spokesman said, “Last week we received an appeal form a young man from Hellingly Scout pack who helped restore the Long Man in 2013.
“He told us that at the time his parents were going through a divorce, and explained how belonging to the Scout movement had helped him when no one else wanted to listen to him.
“Like most other children all he wanted to do was spend time with both his mum and dad which thankfully now is the case.
“His request was for us not to damage the Long Man which was important to him but he understood why we need to do our stunts.
“In our exchange of communications we were very impressed by his attitude and the manners of this young gentleman so we have therefore decided to postpone both the Wilmington and Cerne Abbas [Dorset] protests planned for this weekend until late spring when the ground will be much harder.”
The hill figure was repainted by local Scouts, led by the 1st Hellingly group, in the summer of 2013 as part of the Scouts Community Week.
In announcing the cape and mask protest plan last month, New Fathers 4 Justice said, “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’.”
New Fathers 4 Justice campaigns for equal rights for fathers in divorce and separation proceedings and reform of the family courts.
New Fathers 4 Justice (NF4J) is a splinter group and not associated with Matt O’Connor or Fathers4Justice UK.
The spokesman continued, “We use direct action and protests to highlight the injustice fathers face in the present family court system.
“We want nothing less than a legal presumption of equal contact for a child with their parents if they split up, and the abolition of the deeply controversial, undemocratic secret court system that still exists within the ‘family’ division despite 40 years of inequality and protest.”
Previously the The Sussex Archaeological Society, which maintains the Long Man, 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.