A much-loved lost rooftop statue has been returned to its home in Bideford after being restored.

The 'Ragged Newsboy' statue in Mill Street, Bideford. Picture: Matt SmartThe 'Ragged Newsboy' statue in Mill Street, Bideford. Picture: Matt Smart

The ‘Ragged Newsboy’ statue went missing from its perch in Mill Street earlier this year.

It is now back in its rightful place after it was found and brought back to glory by Torrington roofer Steve Birch.

Steve was working in the street last month when he came across the statue broken among some guttering and covered in mould, having apparently fallen victim to the winter storms.

The roofer was able to pick up the pieces and took them back to his workshop to put the boy back together and repaint him, with Blanchard’s Home Hardware supplying the paint.

How the statue looked before its restoration. Picture: Steve BirchHow the statue looked before its restoration. Picture: Steve Birch

Steve said: “I was working a couple of doors up and a lot of people were asking where ‘the boy’ was and if I had seen him.

“I was working on another roof later on and he had blown off the parapet and was smashed to pieces at the back.

“I picked it up and put it back together, doing it whenever I had some time to spare.

“I quite enjoyed it. I was quite shocked at the amount of interest – a lot of people were asking about ‘the boy’.

The restored statue. Picture: Steve BirchThe restored statue. Picture: Steve Birch

“You could see the quality of how it had been carved – John Butler, who did it, did a really good job.”

The statue, which was put back in its home on June 8, was crafted by Mr Butler back in 2009 as a replacement for an original which had been smashed by a ‘drunken lout’ the year before.

The original ‘Ragged Newsboy’ was believed to have been erected by Thomas Tedrake, editor of the Western Express, in the 19th century.

In his book, Secret Bideford, local historian Peter Christie said: “Walk along Mill Street and opposite the Baptist church there is a handsome building topped by a small statue known as ‘The Ragged Newsboy’.

The 'Ragged Newsboy' statue in Mill Street, Bideford. Picture: Matt SmartThe 'Ragged Newsboy' statue in Mill Street, Bideford. Picture: Matt Smart

“This was originally erected by Thomas Tedrake a colourful photographer-cum-newspaper publisher.

“It is uncertain when the statue of the newsboy was erected but it soon became a much loved feature outlasting its creator by many years.

“In 2008 a drunken lout managed to climb up some adjoining scaffolding and pushed the figure into the street where it was irretrievably smashed.”