After reading the deluge of letters in the local press in relation to Damien Hirst’s proposed statue for Ilfracombe Harbour, one theme that kept recurring was that so many people found the statue to be so grossly offensive.

How can anyone who is rational, reasonable, sensible find the body of a pregnant woman and potential mother, who gives and perpetuates human life, offensive?

Some people are sadly still living in the dark ages. I find current wars shown on TV news with death, injury, bloodshed and bodies far more offensive. Then there’s starvation, cruelty to animals, the list is endless. This statue does not fall into this category.

A statue in Ilfracombe Harbour of a pregnant woman who will be delivering life is a truly strong and beautiful image.

I have always believed women are far superior to men in so many ways, especially emotionally and spiritually and, of course, that wonderful maternal competence, and I have no doubt that Damien Hirst, being the great artist that he is, will convey all of this in his art.

The argument that Ilfracombe should be represented by its history or maritime past or heritage is a non-starter.

To generations of younger people, this means nothing – they can’t relate to it. Why does art have to be linked to history or heritage? It can stand on its own for what it is.

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I love Ilfracombe as I do all of North Devon and I can remember in the ’50s and ’60s it was as good as anywhere abroad but we are not living in that period, that’s history.

The statue could be the catalyst to bring Ilfracombe into the 21st century and bring more visitors and people to spend their hard-earned money than any maritime artefact or replica or historic legacy.

Leonard Hill, Bideford

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