Pipe smoking shepherd is a town health hazard

The pipe-smoking shepherd opposite the Central Dales Medical Practice.

By Betsy Everett

A larger-than-life sculpture of a shepherd, his dog, and a sheep, due to be installed in Hawes this week, could be bad for the image of the Dales market town, the parish council has been told.

For the seven-foot-high shepherd, sculpted from metal, is depicted smoking a pipe and will be placed on the enclosure at Town Foot, opposite the Central Dales Medical Practice. It replaces an older, wooden, shepherd which had rotted and been knocked over by revellers.

Ruth Annison, a resident of Askrigg and joint owner of Outhwaites Ropemakers in Hawes, said “serious concerns” had been raised by a number of people about the message this sent out.
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“A shepherd with a pipe, especially being right outside the medical centre, is not a good image. To be seen to be advertising smoking in this day and age is really bad PR for the town,” said Mrs Annison.

Councillor John Blackie, chairman of Hawes and High Abbotside parish council, said she was the only person who had objected and the pipe would not be removed. But Mrs Annison said she was not the only objector.

“Members should be aware that this issue has been raised elsewhere and other people have expressed their concerns about it,” she said.

Resident Rob Ward pointed out that although the shepherd had a pipe, there was no smoke and Councillor Stewart Hunter said it was a traditional image and a lot of shepherds used to smoke pipes.

Said Mrs Annison: “That is not the point. You may all mock me and laugh, and think it’s a trivial issue, but it’s not. It is outside the doctors’ surgery and that is not good.”

Councillor Albert Sunter said he did not understand the objection.

“If it had been a cigarette I could have understood it, but I honestly can’t remember when I last saw anybody smoking a pipe. I don’t think this is going to encourage anybody.”

Mr Ward said the sculpture had been made by a man calling himself Glen, Lord Lincoln. He owned a metal working company, had a holiday cottage in Hawes, and was donating it entirely free of charge to the town. All he had requested in return was a plaque. Members agreed that a letter of thanks should be sent to him.


  1. For heaven sake PC gone to ridiculous lengths yet again – why dont PC party keep their opinions to themselves and let the other 99.99% enjoy their lives – shame on you!

  2. PC gone wrong again surely there are more important things going on in the world than this. Pipe or no pipe? After thinking for a second lets keep the pipe and tackle the need for food banks in the UK

  3. People are really getting so petty today, lighten up. Talk about political correctness and good old health and safety, What’s this country coming to ?. There’s more things to worry about like the deteriorating NHS.

  4. It is a very generous gesture by this man. He should have his plaque and a sincere thank you.
    I, sorry Mrs Iveson and co………….people are not sheep and will not follow suit. You can not erase history – it is a truthful depiction of when shepherds had crooks – and pipes.

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