Pranksters place Santa hat on Angel of the North in seventh attempt at stunt

‘We really wanted to do something people might find uniformly enjoyable,’ says organiser

Adam Forrest
Tuesday 25 December 2018 19:49
Santa hat on the 20 metre-tall sculpture 'Angel of the North'
Santa hat on the 20 metre-tall sculpture 'Angel of the North'

A group of festive mischief-makers placed a giant Santa hat on top of the iconic Angel of the North sculpture in Gateshead.

The hat was first spotted atop the famous steel structure on Christmas Eve, as drivers made their way home along the nearby stretch of the A1 in Tyne and Wear for the holidays.

The pranksters added it to artist Anthony Gormley’s landmark work in the early hours of 24 December, with many passers-by stopping to take photos and post them on social media on Christmas Day.

The group, who have asked not to be named, said they were delighted by the response, having prepared meticulously for the occasion for several years.

“We really wanted to do something people might find uniformly enjoyable, something that might bring people together,” one of them said.

The 10-person operation to decorate the angel featured a sophisticated effort involving ropes and fishing lines.

“Ten of us, five different vans, everyone had a bit of something in the back of their vehicle,” one of the group’s leaders said.

“We all filed out like paratroopers, everybody knew what their role was. We have gone to significant efforts to make sure it doesn’t fly off.”

Six previous efforts have been held back by a string of problems – including windy weather and a broken-down car.

Antony Gormley’s sculpture was installed in 1998, marking its 20th birthday this year

One member of the group said he spent £90 on fabric to create the hat, sewing it all together with the help of his girlfriend and his grandmother’s sewing machine.

“Someone on Twitter said it’s just a couple of drunk kids,” he said. “Drunk folk don’t usually carry around 25ft hats in their pocket.”

Gateshead Council has yet to speak out on the stunt, while Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police have declined to comment.

“We will take it down if it’s still there after a certain time, and we are eminently qualified to do it,” one of the group said.

“That has always been my biggest worry about the whole thing. That someone goes up to take it down and gets themselves hurt.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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