Ayton residents are on a mission - to replace the much loved red lions that used to sit on guard outside the village’s former Red Lion Hotel.
It was a black day for Ayton residents in September 2008 when they awoke to find that the lions had disappeared overnight.
The 80 year old ornamental ceramic red lions were valued, at the time of their theft, at £4000 and it was suspected they had been stolen by rogue antique dealers and would never be seen again.
Generations of children had sat on the lions’ backs and they were a well known and much loved landmark in the village.
Six years after their disappearance it’s clear the lions have gone for good so Ayton Enhancement Group is making plans to replace them, matching the originals as closely as possible.
Ayton Enhancement Group treasurer, Bill Black said: “The Enhancement Group looks after all the flower tubs and flower beds in the village but we’re always looking for other ways to improve the look of the village.
“We got the street signs renewed and the bottle banks screened and now we thought it would be nice to see the red lions back again.”
The former Red Lion Hotel has since been converted to four properties and the owners are all in favour of seeing the lions return.
It will cost an estimated £1000 to replace Ayton’s lions and the Enhancement Group plans to raise this money through grant applications, local fundraising and donations. And to start the ball rolling Ayton Community Council has made a £100 donation.
If anyone would like to make a donation or organise a fundraiser event they are asked to contact Bill Black on 018907 81427.