CROWDS turned out in Dorchester today to welcome the arrival of a new statue.

A giant bronze statue weighing in at one-and-a-half tonnes was carried through the county town before being installed at Dray Horse Yard in Brewery Square.

The 12-foot sculpture was paraded through South Street before heading up to the development and being lowered into place in Dray Horse Yard.

People lined the streets as it made its journey on a 1920s horse drawn dray with musical accompaniment.

The procession was led by Mayor of Dorchester Stella Jones with husband Trevor and grandchildren Ellis, Lily and Eve.

Cllr Jones said: “It’s absolutely wonderful to see so many people coming to see it, it’s an amazing statue to have in Dorchester.

“It’s brilliant, it’s just another boost for the town.”

Before the horse was lifted into position at the former brewery site town crier Alistair Chisholm performed a specially written cry for the occasion.

He said afterwards that he was delighted to see another fantastic piece of public artwork being added to the town.

Mr Chisholm said: “It’s a wonderful occasion and even more fine public art for Dorchester.

“When you add all that we’ve got together it’s about time we developed an art trail around the town.

“We’ve got some extraordinary pieces to which this is simply the latest addition.”

He added that it was good to see a new town centre development respecting the history and heritage of the town.

Mr Chisholm said: “Here we have a very modern development and the old dray horse is a very important part of it.”

Andrew Wadsworth, director of Waterhouse which is developing Brewery Square in partnership with Resolution Property, said he was thrilled to see so many people in the town turning out for the arrival of the statue.

He said: “It’s amazing, it’s such a great turnout which is a real testament to the community spirit of Dorchester and we are delighted to be part of galvanising that.”

Sculptor Shirley Pace, 81, came out of retirement to spend six weeks working on the horse and it was then cast at a foundry in Wales.

Shirley, who lives near Chichester in West Sussex, was in Dorchester to see the statue installed.