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Plea issued for safe return of Salter statue

Published Friday, 02 December 2011

The last remaining relative of Dr Alfred Salter - one of Britain's great social reformers whose statue was stolen by metal thieves - today issued an urgent appeal for its safe return.

Johanna Crawshaw, Dr Salter's great niece, said she was "shocked" to hear of the statue's theft after it was taken from Cherry Garden Pier in Bermondsey by the Thames.

Worth £17,500, the life-size bronze statue was erected in 1991 in tribute to Dr Salter, a former MP who devoted his life to helping the poor in south London

Southwark Council is offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves.

Mrs Crawshaw, 57, today pledged to double the reward on offer and called for anyone with information on the theft to come forward.

She said: "I'm Alfred's last remaining relative and so I was shocked to hear that the statue of my great uncle was stolen.

"Although I never had the chance to meet him as he sadly died nine years before I was born, I heard so many wonderful stories about Alfred and the great work that he did in helping the poor in Southwark.

"He was an inspiration to many people and a tireless campaigner against social injustice and so it's a great shame that thieves have now taken his memorial.

"If anyone has any information on the theft or where the statue may be, I would urge them to either contact the council or the police so the offenders can be brought to justice."

Councillor Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for community protection, said: "We are shocked that thieves have stolen the statue of Dr Alfred Salter who did so much to serve the people of Bermondsey both as a local GP and an MP.

"His statue was a well known local landmark and was a fitting tribute to a man who devoted his life to help others. I have always found him an inspiration and I couldn't walk past the statue without reflecting on all the good he did.

"Along with Mrs Crawshaw, we hope that our combined reward of £2,000 will help lead the authorities to catch whoever was responsible for committing this crime."

Dr Salter, who was born in 1873, was renowned for his dedication to helping the poor.

After training as a doctor at Guy's Hospital he set up a medical practice in Bermondsey in 1900 and offered his services free of charge to people who couldn't afford them.

Other good works included a campaign for a solarium to treat tuberculosis sufferers, of whom there were hundreds at the time.

He went on to be elected MP for Bermondsey in 1922 and held the seat until shortly before his death in 1945.

The statue was stolen on the evening of Friday 18th November.

Two accompanying pieces depicting Dr Salter's daughter Joyce and her cat have been removed by Southwark Council and placed in secure storage for the time being.

Anyone with information on the theft should contact the council on 020 7525 1501 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

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