Calls to restore the Spirit of Rye

RYE’S Millennium Wall has fallen into disrepair and become a target for vandals.

The wall, next to the sluice gate and Kettle O’Fish Roundabout, was designed by Rye artist Ron Dellar and built by young apprentice bricklayers from Hastings College.

The curved wall is named The Spirit of Rye and features a woman with flowing hair in the shape of a ship’s figurehead.

Mr Dellar, who has since moved to Angmering, was shocked by the state of the wall when he returned to Rye.

It has been daubed with graffiti and has weeds growing from it.

Mr Dellar said: “This is the only piece of public art in Rye. I was concerned about the neglect of the wall and its general air of neglect and wrote to the chairman of both Rye Conservation Society and Rother Environmental Group, seeking their support in tidying up this site and removing the graffiti – neither has responded.

“It is not clear exactly who owns the wall as I am not sure that Transco, who own the land, exist any more.

“I wonder if Rye Town Council would accept ownership of the wall and be responsible for having it cleaned and tidied up on an annual basis.”

Rye Council’s policy committee discussed the request when it met on Monday evening.

Cllr Mary Smith said: “If we take ownership of this wall we have to look after it and there will be a cost involved.”

Cllr Sam Souster said: “The wall has been ignored for 11 years now and is deteriorating.

“It is a worthwhile memorial to this town and the only thing built specifically for the millennium. This could be quite good for the town to take on.”

Cllr Jo Kirkham said: “This is an important site in the town as it is the place where the day labourers used to line up to be chosen for work.”