CRADLING a baby as a military serviceman looks on, she could be any woman to have graced the streets of Carterton in its 114-year history.
But this time round she is part of the latest stage in the town’s regeneration, one of three figures on two sculptured stainless steel benches to be installed in Carterton celebrating the town’s origins and military links.
They will be placed in an alleyway – to be renamed Carter’s Walk after the town’s founder, William Carter – to help generate footfall to shops.
Mayor Lynn Little said: “It will open up the walkway to bring people shopping at Morrisons into the rest of the town and the new market square.
“We felt it needed sprucing up and it will be an experience for people to walk through our town and know we have more shops there.
“Carter’s Walk is the start of the regeneration of our town centre.
“The sculptures look great and very nicely represent both the history and the military link to this town.”
West Oxfordshire District Council received developer funding from the construction of Morrisons, which will pay for the life-sized sculptures.
One includes a figure of Mr Carter sitting on a bench holding a bucket of Carterton tomatoes, like those sold at Covent Garden in London.
The other features a woman holding a baby, while a man wearing an RAF uniform stands next to her.
They will be placed at either end of Carter’s Walk.
Sculptured objects including a pair of glasses, sweets and scissors represent alleyway businesses, which include an opticians, sweet shop and hairdressers.
A total of £20,000 has been spent on the alleyway, which will include painting walls, replacing shop signs and a clean-up. It was funded by developer contributions and private donations.
The market square regeneration is being funded separately by the £155,000 developer contribution for Morrisons.
Each bench is attached to a pylon with landscapes including a sun and C-17 aircraft as a further representation of the RAF Brize Norton link.
Sculptor Godfrey Phillips, from Cassington, spoke to residents and business owners for inspiration for the artwork.
He said: “There’s a story because the RAF figure is not really there – the woman with the baby is dreaming of him while he’s away on active service.
“I quite like work that’s interactive. I hate this thing that you can’t touch art or sculptures and my work is made to be touched.”
The sculptures are expected to be unveiled next month.
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