05:52AM, Wednesday 16 November 2011
A major fundraising campaign has been launched to replace or restore a memorial statue cast for boys who died on a school skiing trip.
Altwood CE School announced today it is collecting donations to put The Companions back in its rightful place.
The 4ft bronze was stolen from Ray Mill Island three weeks ago, sending shockwaves through the community.
It was created to honour Lee Powell, 15, Andrew Watts, 14, Daniel Howton, 14 and Michael Taylor, 13 who died in 1988 on a trip to the Austrian Alps.
Families of the four are due to meet with the council, artist Eunice Goodman and Altwood headteacher Kathleen Higgins on Friday, November 25, to talk about what they would like done.
But a massive surge of support has prompted them to start fundraising now.
Daniel's father Roy Howton said: "There's been lots of messages on Facebook from people wanting to donate so we are pleased the fundraising has been launched."
Cheques or cash can be posted or taken into the Altwood Road school.
Miss Higgins said: "It's important those four boys are never forgotten and due respect is shown so we would be grateful for any donations, no matter how big or small."
Artist Eunice Goodman has a resin artist's proof of the figure at her Cookham Road home which could be used to recast all or parts of memorial.
A bronze version of the figure could cost more than £10,000 and take two months to produce. A resin version would cost £4,000.
She said: "If parents want the real McCoy I wouldn't blame them because it lasts for centuries.
"But if they go for bronze it definitely needs to be insured."
Three men were arrested in connection with the theft.
Adam Brettell, 31, of Evenlode has denied handling stolen goods and is due back at Slough Magistrates Court on January 6.
A 26-year-old man has been released on bail until Friday and a 24-year-old man was released without charge.
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Police have closed part of Ray Mill Road West to traffic this afternoon.