Former boat builder creates Rocking Hare for Prince George

Retired sculptor Tom Newstead, from Seaton Sluice in Northumberland, has created a gift of a Rocking Hare for Prince George

Tom Newstead, from Seaton Sluice, with his rocking hare, he wants to give to Prince George
Tom Newstead, from Seaton Sluice, with his rocking hare, he wants to give to Prince George

A former boat builder from Northumberland has used part of an old wreck to make a gift for Prince George.

Retired sculptor Tom Newstead, from Seaton Sluice, has used wood from a fishing coble which sank at the village harbour, to create a Rocking Hare, which he hopes to send to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their new arrival.

Mr Newstead is hoping for better luck than in 2011 when the couple politely declined to accept a rocking horse he had sculpted as a wedding gift.

The 66-year-old, who lives at Beresford Court, sculpted the rocking horse from the wreck of the Star of Hope, which he restored.

Mr Newstead wrote to the Duchess of Northumberland, who gave her backing to the idea of the rocking horse being sent to Prince William and Kate Middleton as a wedding present.

He wrote to the couple’s representatives but got a reply to say that they were not able to accept the gift.

When news broke that the couple were expecting a baby, Mr Newstead was encouraged to try again.

“Everybody I spoke to said it was terrible they refused it. They liked the rocking horse here.”

He spent six months carving the rocking hare from the wreck of the coble, and the finished product is around four-and-a-half feet long.

“It is for a baby to sit on, a child to play on. It is a nice toy. It is very unusual because they are all rocking horses, but this is a rocking rabbit. It is a hare really.

“I thought it would be a good idea because I am retired and I do a lot of maritime art to pass my time.”

In the last couple of weeks, Mr Newstead has written again to the couple’s representatives offering his creation as a gift to their son.

He would like the rocking hare to be a gift from the people of Northumberland, in particular Seaton Sluice, to Prince George Alexander Louis, who was born on Monday.

Mr Newstead is awaiting a response.

He said: “I like the royal family because I have lived in different parts of the world and I have seen presidents, so I think the royal family is a good thing for the country. I am a Northumbrian royalist.”

Mr Newstead said he was pleased the duke and duchess had had a boy and approved their choice of name.

“It is a great name, it was my grandfather’s name and he was a fisherman.”

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