Sign the online petition here and leave your comments - or pop by our Loudwater office to sign a paper copy

We must restore our town’s pride, and restore our Red Lion – if we do not act now, High Wycombe’s famous landmark could be lost forever.

The crumbling town centre relic has been considered a landmark of High Wycombe for more than a century, but after years of neglect experts are now warning it could be lost forever – and soon.

From this week, the Bucks Free Press is asking readers to support our call for action to ensure the iconic High Street figure – made famous as the backdrop for Winston Churchill’s post-Second World War speech – is given a new lease of life and maintained for years to come.

Master carver Colin Mantripp recently surveyed the damage on the lion after the tail snapped off last year, revealing that years of vandalism and weathering mean it could soon be unrepairable.

Mr Mantripp restored the Red Lion in the 1990s after it was blown down from above the portico and broke into three pieces outside the former Woolworths store.

He said: “This is the principal artefact we’ve got in High Wycombe and it’s been completely neglected.

“I get the impression the Red Lion is just a big inconvenience for some people in the town, but it is one of our main landmarks.

“The way the lion is at the moment, it can’t be left like that.

“The lion is hollow in the middle and where water is getting inside, parts of it are starting to rot and it is continuing to get damaged.

“If it is left as it is, I think in one year’s time it would be almost unrepairable.”

He added: “I felt proud to be a part of it in the past. It would be a great loss for everyone in the town if we were to lose it.

Woodcarver Frank Hudson created the current replica lion in the 1950s after the former one – which is the oldest known example – was rehomed in Wycombe Museum.

It was originally created in connection with the former Red Lion Hotel and more recently has an association with Woolworths.

And, despite well-known organisations and community facilities disappearing from that area of town over the years, the Red Lion has been a constant presence.

There is still hope that the limping lion could be returned to its former glory, with research continuing over the ownership of the statue and where the responsibility for repairing it lies.

Read more about the history of the Red Lion on page 40.