Paddy Power draws scorn from National Trust after 'defacing' chalk giant for stunt

The National Trust has said it is "very concerned" about a stunt by the bookmaker Paddy Power, which involved transforming the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset into a tennis player as a "tribute" to Andy Murray as Wimbledon kicks off.

New balls please: Paddy Power gives Cerne Abbas Giant a makeover
New balls please: Paddy Power gives Cerne Abbas Giant a makeover

The 180ft chalk figure, which is usually armed with a giant club, could yesterday (3 July) be found tossing a ball and holding a tennis racquet (see above).

The notoriously cheeky bookmaker and its agency Taylor Herring said they created the stunt to mark the start of Wimbledon and as a tribute to Andy Murray, who revealved last weekend that he and wife Kim were expecting their second child. 

The figure, thought to date back to the 17th Century, is in the care of conservation organisation National Trust. Asked whether the Trust agreed to the transformation, a spokesman for Paddy Power said: "We'd rather beg forgiveness, than ask permission."

In response, a spokeswoman for the National Trust said: "We’re fans of tennis as much as anyone and pleased to hear of Andy Murray’s news, however we do not encourage any defacing of the Cerne Abbas Giant, however it was done.

"The Cerne Abbas Giant is protected... and we are very concerned about any publicity stunt that may in future encourage damage to this fragile site."

'Disrespecting an ancient landmark'

The stunt has also been criticised some users on social media.

One individual on Twitter wrote yesterday: "Thanks for disrespecting an ancient landmark, don't know why businesses feel it acceptable to deface things for their own gain."

Another referred to the stunt as a "shambles":

Paddy Power's spokesman also said the bookmaker had made a £5,000 donation to the National Trust.

Read next: Paddy Power offers Arsenal fans the chance to save Arsene Wenger or give him the boot

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in