GIANT Olympic Rings carved out of Portland Stone and a new planting scheme have spruced up Weymouth railway station ahead of the Games.

The 8ft 2in (2.5m) tall Albion Stone sculpture was lifted into place by a crane early yesterday morning.

It aims to provide an iconic welcome to the thousands of visitors to Weymouth and Portland during the London 2012 Olympic sailing events, while reflecting the borough’s pride as a host venue.

The rings, weighing 9,000kg and are 3ft 2in (1m) deep and 12ft 5in (3.8m) long, were carved by local stonemasons using world-renowned Portland limestone.

Funded by central government as part of the overall London 2012 budget, a total of £440,000 is being spent on the borough’s ‘Look and Feel’ Olympic dressing.

After the Games, it is planned that the rings will be moved to Portland.

Borough Mayor Councillor Margaret Leicester said: “I think the Olympic Rings are very impressive, fantastic when you consider they’re made of stone.

“They make a lively sight for people going in and out to the station.

“It was the first time I’d seen them and I was very impressed. Albion Stone have a very good reputation and do a lot of restoration work in London so they were very highly qualified for the job.

“It’s definitely something Portland can be proud of.

“There is also a lovely flower display around it, it’s cheered the whole place up.”

She added: “You can’t have a better place for them than outside the railway station during the Olympics, everybody will see them.

“I’ve never seen the station look so good.”


A GIANT inflatable red ball will be making its debut in Weymouth today squashed between buildings in the town centre.

After an 11-year journey around the world, the RedBall art project’s first appearance in an Olympic borough will see it wedged between St Alban Street and St Thomas Street.

It will move on to the town bridge tomorrow, lodged in an arch at the roadside, then the underpass by the Esplanade on Saturday.

On Sunday the ball will roll on to Portland, to a walled area by the Cove House Inn, Chesil Cove.

New York artist Kurt Perschke, who is behind the RedBall project, urged residents to ‘touch’ the ball before it moves on to South Bank, London.

He said: “I’m thrilled to be in Weymouth. With all the Maritime Mix Cultural Olympiad by the Sea events going on, I’m hoping it will have an even better awareness factor.

“For the first day it will be next to the Cider Bar, it’s a busy place so it should get a good response.

“It can’t be popped and it’s never been vandalised. There’s just one in the world, a few time’s we’ve needed to patch it up but it’s doing great.”