SHOPPERS have backed moves to spend £33,000 revamping Basildon town centre’s iconic mother and child fountain.

Boards have now gone up around the Grade II listed sculpture in the town square while it is deep-cleaned and recoated in bronze.

A new pump and filter system have already been installed in the pool around the statue and work to re-lay, re-point and mend some of the special stonework is also planned.

Lorraine Theobald, 49, of Spire Road, Laindon, said: “That statue is Basildon.

“I’ve been here since 1965 and that’s what I remember as a child. It’s worth the money.”

Mrs Theobald, a taxi driver, had several other suggestions for the council.

She said: “We need our town centre to be vibrant again.

“We need things for the 14 to 17-year-olds to do. We need our market place back and an ice skating rink which is up to Olympic standard “We need things for families and the community.”

The Echo reported yesterday on the first-ever clean-up of artist Maurice Lambert’s sculpture since it was unveiled in the Sixties – and many residents believe the work is long overdue.

Marie Nutt, 44, of Craylands, said: “When I saw the barriers around it I thought they were taking it down and I was gutted.

“It’s part of our heritage and I’m glad they’re repairing it. I don’t think £33,000 is exorbitant.

“It needs doing and it has needed it for about five years.”

Mark Dale, 35, of Littlebury Green, Laindon, has lived in Basildon all his life and thinks even more should be spent on the statue. He said: “The council doesn’t think twice about spending hundreds of thousands on the council offices.

“It’s good it has managed to find £33,000 for the statue which is the symbol of Basildon. It’s an old statue. They could probably have spent a little bit more. I hope they maintain it regularly once the work has finished.”

The money is coming from a £2million grant from the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency, to be spent on town centre improvements.