Help solve a mystery…

Can anyone help me get to the bottom of this? I’ve a feeling this one might be of interest to Mark Lorenzo, of Tamworth Time Hikes. I know it’s not Brownhills, but it’s been troubling me for a few of years now. Mark last week published a fascinating post about the Motte & Bailey remains at Seckington, near Tamworth, but there’s an altogether more intriguing oddity lurking nearby that I’d really, really like to get to the bottom of…

I first spotted it way back in the autumn of 2007, on one of my favourite cycling routes. On Hangman’s Lane, Just south of the tiny hamlet in open countryside, a patchy hedge runs beside a normal agricultural field. The lane is straight, open and visibility is clear. In a nondescript gap, where the hedge gives way to wire and post fence, there is an odd collection of soft toys, firmly attached to the wire mesh.

The toys as photographed at 4:50pm, Sunday, 29th September 2007.

When I first saw them, the fluffy characters were weathered and dirty, and had obviously already been there for some time. They had been attached to the fence carefully, with wire, and often round the character’s neck. The spacing was considered and this had clearly taken time to do. The toys looked like they had been fairly new when attached, and would have cost a considerable sum. There were no flowers or any other items nearby, no signs of an accident, and no possible explanations for their presence.

I really couldn’t explain why, but the whole thing left me feeling quite unnerved and unsettled. It troubled me that this was such a deliberate, careful enterprise. I wondered (and still do) if it was some kind of shrine, but there’s no sign of an accident there. It certainly doesn’t seem like a shrine. Further to the south for a while in 2007, there was a smaller collection of soft toys tied to the gate of a roadside pumping station on Main Road, between Shuttington and Newton Regis, about a mile away. They were smaller, and if I recall correctly, all white in colour. I lost the photograph I took of those, and they disappeared around Christmas in 2007.

The assemblage remained until some time in 2008, whence they were all removed. Absent for a while, a new and larger collection of figures appeared in the spring of 2009. These too, were clearly new, bought for the purpose, again for what must have been a considerable sum.

More toys, and a bit larger. Clearly attached carefully, by the same hand. 5:25pm, Saturday, 31st May, 2009.

Last weekend I passed the spot again, and the toys remained. There had been some additions, including the odd reappearance of Daffy Duck from the original collection, but essentially, the collection was the same, just weathered and decaying. The grass on the verge in front is flattened by people walking over to take a look. People clearly show respect and never seem to tamper with or remove the toys.

Maintained, but fading. 4:55pm, Sunday, 15th August 2010.

All I really want to know is what is this being done for? Is it a shrine, and if so who to? Is it a joke? It feels peculiarly intrusive to even ask. Like the inscription on the bench near Walsall’s Church Hill Memorial Gardens, it intimates sadness, a story untold. I really have no idea.

Can anyone help at all?

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6 Responses to Help solve a mystery…

  1. Amanda Burton says:

    Saw your blog whilst searching for history of Shuttington. In answer to your question – Three lads died in a car accident at this spot, after they were racing along the road. They hit another car whilst on the wrong side of the road. The people in the other car were badly injured (one is now in a wheelchair) and 3 dogs died in the crash. Very sad.

  2. Amanda Burton says:

    Found out more. The driver of the other eventually vehicle died. The three lads were doing some sort of time trials on this very dangerous road. The other car was just travelling along normally.

    12 June 2007 18:10

    Mr Phillip HOLDER father of Kirk has released the following Statement on behalf of the family of Kirk Holder, aged 19 of John Street, Tamworth.

    Kirk was an extremely bright student who lived life to the full. He always had time for his friends, put others first and will be sadly missed by all his family. Our thoughts go out to the families that have also lost their loved ones. This tragic accident has come as a great shock to all his family and friends.

    Kirk was a passenger in a white Rover 25 which was in collision with a red Renault Laguna car at Potford Bridge, Polesworth at 8.20pm on Wednesday 7 June.

    Kirk’s fellow passenger, Paul Thiravithul, also aged 19 of Tamworth and the driver of the car, 18 year old Liam Guy Morris, also of Tamworth, all died from their injuries.

    The occupants of the Renault Laguna, two males and a female are all detained in the University Hospital, Coventry. The female and one of the males are said to be doing well, but the second male remains in a critical condition.

  3. Hi Amanda

    Thank you for that. I always felt it must be a shrine, but it never had flowers, just toys, so it doesn’t seem like one.

    Thanks for solving this tragic mystery for me – I knew one day someone would spot this and know. My condolences to all the bereaved. A terrible waste of life.

    Thank you.


  4. pen says:

    Im sorry but your talking about the wrong road. The accident with the boys was up the back lane xx

    • KW says:

      Amanda, Hangmans lane was not the road that the 3 lads crashed into the guy in the Laguna. These toys were there before they did that.

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