IT became a shrine to Red Arrows pilot Jon Egging and is now considered to be one of Bournemouth’s most iconic sculptures.

The ‘It’s Got To Be Bournemouth’ Pride Lion which stood outside the town hall became a focal point for floral tributes following the air festival tragedy last year.

But news that the eye-catching sculpture is due to be auctioned off next year has prompted a major campaign to keep the lion local.

The Pride Lion was bought for £4,000 by the Sovereign Shopping Centre in Boscombe at a public art auction last year. Centre office manager Joan Neale said they were planning to put it up for auction at the 2013 Red Ball to raise further funds for the Jon Egging Trust.

“Of course we want to keep the lion in Bournemouth but we also need to raise as much money as possible for the Trust so we are open to offers,” she said.

Now Julian Sandy who works at the town hall and designed the lion’s art work after winning a competition, has pledged to do everything in his power to make sure the lion doesn’t leave town.

“We can’t let it go to auction – we have to ensure it stays in Bournemouth because it belongs to the local people. We need to raise as much money as possible to keep it where it belongs.”

Carol Childs of Poole, who was one of the artists recruited to paint the Pride Lion sculptures, said she was 100 per cent behind the campaign: “This one is my favourites because it has so much detail on it. It has become an iconic sculpture for Bournemouth and I will do everything I can to ensure it stays here.”

Pride in Bournemouth was launched last year by Wild in Art and involved local business and organisations sponsoring large lion sculptures which were displayed all over the borough.

If you would like to find our more about how to support the campaign please email or for more information visit