The eagle has flown - golden bird crest added to Sleaford town sign to mark close ties with RAF bases is stolen

Missing. A close up of the eagle crest that has been taken over the weekend. EMN-180716-123715001
Missing. A close up of the eagle crest that has been taken over the weekend. EMN-180716-123715001

A special golden eagle crest added to top one of the town’s ‘welcome’ signs to honour the close relationship with the RAF in its centenary year has been stolen just a couple of months later.

The gold painted eagle, designed to be a nod to the crest of the Royal Air Force, was one of three installed on roadside signs that had been refurbished and unveiled in May. They had been paid for jointly by Sleaford and District Civic Trust, North Kesteven District Council and Sleaford Town Council.

At the unveilingo f the eagle and refurbished sign on Lincoln Road in May, from left - Christopher Hodgson (vice-chairman Sleaford Civic Trust), Coun Sally Tarry (former chairman of NKDC), Coun Anthony Brand (former vice-chairman of Sleaford Town Council) and Garry Titmus (chairman of Sleaford Civic Trust). EMN-180716-123651001

At the unveilingo f the eagle and refurbished sign on Lincoln Road in May, from left - Christopher Hodgson (vice-chairman Sleaford Civic Trust), Coun Sally Tarry (former chairman of NKDC), Coun Anthony Brand (former vice-chairman of Sleaford Town Council) and Garry Titmus (chairman of Sleaford Civic Trust). EMN-180716-123651001

Its theft is being seen as an “affront” to the brave men and women serving in the RAF.

The eagle’s absence was first noticed on Saturday morning by the chairman of the Civic Trust, Garry Titmus, as he drove into town on Lincoln Road, where the sign is positioned.

After some checking, it was confirmed it had definitely gone missing, and Mr Titmus suspected it may have been the target of revellers as it has little resale value, being only gold-painted and made of resin.

He thought whoever took it must have been a good climber or have used a ladder, due to its height on top of the post and he has reported it to the police.

Mr Titmus is now appealing for whoever took it to realise their error and return it. He said: “It took a lot of effort and cost to get them there and it is unlikely we would be able to replace it.”

He said: “It is not the cost value of the eagle that is the most important factor here but the loss of the symbolic value and what it says publically about our town.

“The eagles were placed on the town signs to celebrate the Royal Air Force’s centenary. It was a public way for the town to honour the RAF and to thank it for protecting us for the last 100 years. It was also meant as a symbol of the

esteem that the area has for our neighbouring Air Force establishments and to help us all remember that Sleaford has honoured RAF Cranwell with the freedom of the town and is in the process of conferring that same honour on RAF Digby.“

He added: “What might have appeared to be just a bit of a prank has a much larger impact and frankly it is an affront to both the town and the Royal Air Force.

“I would dearly love to see the eagle taken from the Lincoln Road Town Sign returned as soon as possible because I doubt whether the Civic Trust can replace it like for like – it took much research and endeavour to produce the eagles in the first place.

“If the person or persons who stole the eagle could find a way of returning it, it would be much appreciated by the town.”