(FRIDAY, MAY 20) A THAME statue which was stolen in December 2000 has been restored to its rightful place.

The sculpture of a boy, standing on the back of a turtle holding a large fish, was returned to the town's Pearce Memorial Gardens after a Thame resident, who works in London, spotted it in an antique shop's window.

This was a replica, which was commissioned by the town council after the original, erected in 1926 by Ernest Pearce of Australia, as a monument to the memory of his parents Philip Henry Pearce and his wife Elizabeth, was stolen in 1985 and never recovered.

Phyllis Quainton, 87, one of the few surviving residents who witnessed the unveiling of the original statue in 1926, when she was just nine-years-old, cut the ribbon at a special ceremony on Saturday, May 14.

Mrs Quainton, who has lived in Thame all her life, said: "I remember when the first statue of the little boy was unveiled for the first time. The photograph was taken by Mr Gurney, who lived in Chinnor Road.

"I thought the ceremony was wonderful. It was a miracle that we got it back because someone from Thame spotted it in a shop window. The statue is part of a fountain and when I cut the ribbon water started flowing from the fish's mouth. How they did that I cannot imagine."