VIKING raiders celebrating their 50th birthday are set to invade South Tyneside all over again.
The landmark Viking sculpture in Jarrow town centre is to undergo a £3,200 makeover.
Originally unveiled in 1962, the statue initially sparked controversy, with some Jarrovians questioning a memorial to two, fierce-looking Scandinavian invaders, who once attacked the monastery at Jarrow.
The striking sculpture eventually won over townsfolk, but time has taken its toll on the Viking duo, complete with their warrior helmets and shields.
Now the Vikings are to enjoy a facelift, thanks to a £3,200 grant from Jarrow and Boldon community area forum.
Coun Emma Lewell-Buck said: “A few residents approached us and said they thought the Viking statue in Grange Road was looking like a bit of an eyesore.
“We eventually agreed a grant to carry out restoration work on the statue, which has been a feature of the town centre for 50 years.
“The original plaque has been taken away and will be restored by specialists, plus the stonework will be renovated.
“There was also some rather ugly plywood covering part of the statue, where there were once telephone boxes, and that will be improved as well. This is not an overnight job, but we hope to have the Viking sculpture looking as good as new in the near future.”
Originally sculpted by C.M. Davidson, of Orpington in Kent, the statue was donated to the old Jarrow Borough Council by Chippendale and Company, who spearheaded the shopping centre development in the early 1960s.
The Scandinvian warriors are meant to symbolise raids on the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Jarrow in the 8th and 9th centuries.
In 2005, the statues were removed and renovated, but the elements have again taken their toll on the Scandinavian duo.