'Call of the Sea' mermaid statue unveiled in Talbot Square
A £35,000 mermaid statue narrowly approved by Blackpool Council last year following much debate has at last been unveiled in Talbot Square.
The life-sized painted bronze sculpture, called Call of the Sea, is one of a number of unique works commissioned by the council to make the town centre more attractive to shoppers, residents and investors.
It was created by artist Laurence Payot following consultations with fashion students from Blackpool and The Fylde College, pupils from Blackpool Gateway Academy and the council’s beach patrol team, and was modelled after a local girl.
Coun Lynn Williams, Blackpool Council leader and cabinet member for tourism and culture, said: “We are a forward-thinking town and as we recover from the impact of the pandemic, I am pleased we have a statue that local young people wanted to represent their passion for protecting our natural environment.
“I’m sure the statue will prove to be a popular landmark for people to meet at before going and enjoying the many attractions including our wonderful beach and piers where you can get close to nature.
“Our seaside resort is proud to have recently received the Keep Britain Tidy Seaside Awards for the high standards of all four of our beaches and bathing waters so it is very fitting that the statue celebrates our beautiful natural coastline and our award-winning beaches.
“This project is just one element of our wider plans for the town centre regeneration and is part of the ongoing work taking place to create a resilient resort for the 21st century.”
The sculpture, funded by a grant from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, was made using a state-of-the art 3D scanner on a live model. It was then cast in bronze and painted in deep sea greens and blues.
It was narrowly approved by Blackpool Council's planning committee by five votes to four in December last year.
Ms Payot said: “Call of the Sea will mark a turning point for Blackpool which has declared a climate change emergency and send a positive and optimistic message about the town’s progress to maintain its quality sea water and clean beaches.
“She was carefully designed with and for Blackpool, and emerges out of the sea, like a magical and surreal apparition. I hope people will accept her and care for her, for she represents hope, change and kindness.
“She is a motherly figure, caring for local sea life found in the Irish Sea, holding it tight to her heart. But she is also a powerful figure, a fighter with a determined position, moving forward and raising a bright red conch shell as if raising an emergency call, inviting us to follow her path. She is a call for the sea, and for the young and future generations.
“Her body, the sea, and the fauna and flora she is holding are all intertwined into a colourful web of life. Reds and blues, opposite colours, sit together, representing the contradictions she embodies, and the choices we have to make.
“I cannot wait to see her in situ. I hope she will surprise passers-by, and make children dream of a beautiful future.”