Readers remember statue’s former site

Sandra Collins is pictured with two youngsters looking at the statue and swans.
Sandra Collins is pictured with two youngsters looking at the statue and swans.

THE CALL in the Herald recently for information on the Neptune statue in Motcombe Gardens has prompted several responses from Looking Back readers.

The Neptune statue today stands on an island in the little pond in the park but as well as adorning a little garden in Michel Grove in the 1920s, reader Bruce Hamilton believes it was also in Mill Gap road.

Mr Hamilton, who was a part-time ambulance driver during the war, said that once evacuees left Eastbourne many of the large houses were occupied by organisations and he remembers seeing the statue in about 1942 at a house called Millfields in Mill Gap Road.

Margaret Collins called in to our offices in Lismore Road to say her to say her father was Ernie Parsons, known as Ern, and was in charge of Motcombe Park from 1933 to 1963 when he retired.

She says Neptune arrived in the park in the late 1950s, early 1960s and the statue was at that time placed on a plinth by the side of the railings and also brought in a photograph of her daughter Sandra with two other children and Neptune.

She isn’t sure of the first names of the two small children are but believes their surname was Warland.

Mrs Collins also adds that Neptune was vandalised many times and his trident stolen so it was decided to move him to the middle of the pond.

In addition, Ernie looked after the swans in the park called William and Mary and even during rationing kept food back to feed them on Christmas Day. He was actually tending the bowling green when a bomb dropped at the top of nearby Charleston Road.