Search for missing Highgate sculpture reveals theft of tribute to man killed in road accident

Three generations of the same family have been searching for a lost memorial to a man killed in a road accident in Highgate more than a decade ago.

Two giant hands – one black and one white to symbolise the diversity of Highgate – were designed by two teenage Acland Burghley School pupils about 15 years ago to serve as a tribute to Antony Antoniou.

The hands stood on a patch of grass outside a block of social housing at the junction of Raydon Street and Chester Road.

But the sculpture vanished as work to demolish the old housing block and rebuild it got under way in 2011 as part of the Chester Balmore development.

Katy Wright, who designed the sculpture with friend Carlee Hooker while studying for their GCSEs, decided to enlist her mother Clare Donovan and grandmother Sybil Hunot to help track down the tribute.

“It’s really sad,” she said. “You would have noticed it when you passed by because it was so big and colourful.”

Mrs Wright, now 33 and living in Guildford with her husband and daughter, said the artwork was her first design project, paving the way to a career as a civil engineer.

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Grandmother Sybil Hunot, 87, of Anson Road, Tufnell Park, brought the mystery to her family’s attention after spotting that the sculpture had vanished on one of her regular drives to Highgate Cemetery, where her husband is buried.

“I hope it is still somewhere and has been rescued,” she said. “It would be awful if it had been destroyed. That would be shocking.”

The Ham&High covered the sculpture’s unveiling ceremony in the late 1990s, attended by MP Glenda Jackson.

But Camden Council shed light on the mystery – revealing that the sculpture was put into secure storage when work on the Chester Balmore development began in 2011. But in 2012, it was cruelly stolen.

Cllr Julian Fulbrook said: “This callous crime has, of course, caused further distress to the family, and we have been in discussions with the family to create a new memorial that we will pay for, which will continue to honour the memory of Antony Antoniou.”