High Wycombe’s iconic and treasured Red Lion has watched over our town for generations, but the crumbling relic has become just a shadow of its former self.

Today at the launch of a fundraising campaign, the Bucks Free Press says it is time to act and restore our town’s pride before it is too late.

Experts tasked by the BFP and the High Wycombe Society to survey the statue revealed the full extent of the crippling damage this week after lifting the limping lion down from its High Street perch, where it most notably served as the backdrop of Winston Churchill’s rousing post-war speech.

Restoration of the Red Lion will cost £7,000, while a 10-year maintenance plan has already been put in place at a cost of £4,000.

Bucks Free Press:

Pick up today's Bucks Free Press for more news on the Red Lion campaign.

BFP readers and high-profile figures from across Bucks have supported a bid to repair the lion, with more than 600 people signing our petition earlier this year, but it is now time for everyone to dig deep.

Despite extensive investigations and research, it has not been possible to establish who owns or is responsible for the Red Lion, and so we have stepped in to prevent it being lost forever.


Woodcarver Frank Hudson created the current replica lion in the 1950s after the former one – which is believed to be the original – was rehomed in Wycombe Museum.

In the last few years, a combination of vandalism and stormy weather has taken its toll on the figure.

Joining the BFP campaign is the High Wycombe Society, Nostalgia expert Mike Dewey and members of the Hudson family, including master carver Colin Mantripp who previously repaired the lion and will carry out the work.

Bucks Free Press:

Project manager Tim Hudson said: “It’s an icon of High Wycombe. Without it, if you look at the High Street, it already feels like its missing.”

Mr Mantripp said: “It’s quite rotten at the front, and the feet are damaged, but we knew that. It will be nice just to get it in the dry, get the paint off it, let it slowly dry out and then we can access it.

“It’s a fairly big job. It needs a total renovation, but it is long-term care that we really need.”

Look back at the history of the Red Lion by clicking here.

In 1945, people climbed lampposts and hung out of windows to watch Churchill’s post-war speech, with the Red Lion the perfect location for one of the milestone moments in the town’s history.

This week, market traders said it still remains one of the best sites for shoppers, with visitors regularly asking about its history.

Saving this great town landmark will need the support of as many people as possible. Any donation, small or large, will make a difference and go a long way.


You can donate online at

For other ways to donate, including cheques and cash pledges, contact the BFP on 01494 755089.