£4,750 grant to complete the Gansey Girl

Steve Carvill with the Gansey Girl, which was installed for the 10th anniversary of the Bridlington Maritime Trail
Steve Carvill with the Gansey Girl, which was installed for the 10th anniversary of the Bridlington Maritime Trail

Bridlington’s iconic Gansey Girl sculpture will finally be finished – almost two years after she took up her position on the north pier.

A grant of almost £5,000 from Bridlington Town Council will allow artist Steve Carvill to carry out more work on his piece, which has become hugely popular with photographers and has even had poems and songs written about her.

Depicting a young woman knitting a Gansey, the traditional jumper passed down through generations of fishing families, she sits at the harbour mouth in order to bid farewell to fishermen leaving the harbour, as well as welcome them back home.

The man behind the creation, Mr Carvill said: “The plans to enhance the Gansey Girl include a bronze frame which will be installed around the base of the plinth.

“It will incorporate the remaining 55 small bronze fish bearing the names celebrating historical fishing families who worked out of Bridlington harbour and the long awaited plaque with her title, description and details.

“This will see the completion of the piece to what I hope will be the very high standard which our community deserve and also resilient enough to face the conditions of the site on the north pier.”

The donation from the town council was not without controversy. A vote at last Wednesday’s meeting saw five members in favour and five against, so the mayor Cllr Cyril Marsburg had the casting vote and he decided the project merited the £4,750 grant.

Mr Carvill added: “I am extremely grateful to the town council for this amazing support.

“This represents a wonderful endorsement of the effort that has gone into Gansey Girl and the community that contributed to her and what she represents. The town council has now joined with the Fisheries Local Action Group, The Bridlington Harbour Commissioners, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, The University of Hull, local historians and representatives of the fishing community and town Community, as partners in the New Maritime Trail.

“I am so pleased this has brought everyone together, this sort of community spirit promises that we should all have great faith in our town and its future.”

He said he had been overwhelmed by the public affection for the Gansey Girl, having only aimed to produce “a good job for my home town”.

“You can imagine how amazed and delighted I am that in such a short time people have so taken her to their hearts and words like ‘Bridlington icon’ are used.

“She belongs to the town and community now in every sense, this is all I could ever have hoped for.”