TOWNSPEOPLE in Royal Wootton Bassett are celebrating the news that their much loved kingfisher sculpture has come home to roost for good.

They managed to raise the £3,000 needed to prevent the colourful creature from going to auction, thanks to two donations at the 11th hour.

Now it will remain at Jubilee Lake, where it has delighted residents all summer.

A council spokesman said: “This is fantastic news. Both local residents came forward with the funds to ensure the kingfisher stays at the lake, home to the real kingfishers. We would like to send heartfelt thanks on behalf of ourselves and the community to both sponsors.”

One of the donors, Nick Evans from Safewell Ltd said: “My friends and I spent a lot of time playing at the lake when we were kids, so to help out in a small way for something that was so integral to my childhood is a very warming thing to do.

“If the kingfisher adds a little interest to visitors and families visiting the lake then it’s a worthwhile spend on my part.”

The stunning sculpture has been a Jubilee Lake for months, as part of the Kingfisher Trail, an arts trail of 22 sculptures which decorated by local artists for public display and then auctioned off for charity funds.

The auction price for the Bassett kingfisher was £3,000 and, although the town has been frantically raising funds and getting sponsorship, it was still £1,250 short until the sponsors stepped up.

The bird was created by Stroud sculptor Hannah Dyson who said: “I think of the kingfisher as a truly magical creature.

"There is a real feeling of excitement and privilege when you see their vibrant little forms speed over the water’s surface. I wanted to create a character that would feed into my love of folk and fairy tales.

"The name ‘Kingfisher’ already denotes royalty, but I wanted to turn my version into a mythical folk beast, a lord of the waterways adored by all the insects and fairy creatures.”

The Kingfisher Trail was designed to bring businesses, arts and local communities together and at the end of the project the sculptures were auctioned to art lovers to raise funds for charities conducting vital conservation work.

The 22 sculptures are all individually painted by different artists and have been on display along a walking arts trail in the Cotswolds and Wiltshire. It has raised £60,000 at an auction in Cheltenham which will go towards funding youth projects teaching rural skills.

“We’re really pleased, it went well with loads of public engagement, “ said James Webb the project’s lead. The money will go towards engaging young people with rural skills, such as dry stone walling, and the countryside.

“We are hoping to fund taster experiences to enable young people to take part in dry stone walling, coppicing, hedging and even stone carving. Getting the chance to learn these sorts of skills is not easy and for some of them it might end up being the start of a new career.”