Following the passing of Chris Blanchard-Cooper, Liberal Democrat Arun District Councillor for Brookfield Ward and Littlehampton Town Councillor for Beach Ward, his husband Billy Blanchard-Cooper has unveiled these beautiful sculptures of teddy bears having a picnic in Mewsbrook Park Littlehampton on 29th September, which would have marked Chris’ 46th Birthday.
Following the unveiling all present who were of course following the government guidance on socially distancing were invited to put their teddy bears with the sculptures, taking their place in the photo where humans normally would have been.
The sculptures were the creation of local chainsaw artist Simon Groves who has done lots of sculptures across Arun. They were funded through an online campaign started by Billy after people asked where they could make charitable contributions in Chris’ name. As Chris didn’t support one specific charity but was well known for being someone who loved Littlehampton, Family and Community, Billy felt this was a great way to let people join together to not only have something to celebrate the great work Chris did, but also produce something everyone could enjoy.
As Chris passed away on 30th April during the lockdown, but not covid related, Billy designed these sculptures to have a nod to the unusual times we find ourselves, with the rainbow on baby bears bib and the bears themselves reminiscent of the teddies and rainbows being displayed in people's windows.
Chris will be greatly missed within the community having been the chairman of Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society for twenty years and then society president, an active member of the Littlehampton Bonfire Society for most his life, and generally involved in lots of events and activities within the town.Billy said “I’d like to thank all those who contributed toward making this possible and to the Arun Liberal Democrats for the contribution made towards this. I miss Chris everyday but know he is still with me in my heart and is what will make me continue to work hard for the community he loved.”
Billy is keen to continue to add to these and if anyone would like to contribute towards further sculptures of a similar nature cheques can be made payable to the Friends of Mewsbrook park and sent to 10 Thames Close, Littlehampton, BN17 6PZ.