I have been following the debate about the future of the Shelley Fountain with interest and would like to contribute a suggestion.
Having researched the subject of Hilaire Belloc for a book which I wrote last year, it seems to me that a statue of this Sussex writer, poet and eccentric would be the perfect answer to the current quandary as to what should dominate the site at the end of West Street.
With due respect to Shelley of Warnham to the west and no offence to the Colgate dragon from east of the town, I suggest we cast our eyes south for inspiration. Belloc had respect for local tradition, and was famous for bribing railway station announcers to pronounce the name of the town Horse Ham.
But, praying forgiveness of that accomplished versifier and with apologies to readers of the County Times, it seems apt to make my case in rhyme:
The cost of honouring poet Percy
Year on year is getting worse, see?
Most agree this washed up feature
Has become s sorry creature.
Oh Dear! Horsham’s collective frown
Cries for better in the town;
Something at home in the Tate?
Daleks screaming exterminate?
Maybe that’s too avant garde
But, there is another bard
Who bestrode our local history
It’s obvious! No need for mystery.
Hilaire Belloc of Kingsland
On that plinth should proudly stand -
Writer of Cautionary Tales,
Quaffer of fine Sussex ales.
Let’s commemorate ‘Old Thunder’,
Leave behind the Shelley blunder
To get the project off the ground
I’ll be the first to pledge a pound!
The Rev NICK FLINT
Rector of Rusper and Colgate,