COUNCILLORS have overseen a cleaning project at one of the district’s most prominent monuments.

The statue of Lt Col. George Elliott Benson has stood at the south end of Hexham’s Beumont Street for well over a century.

Lt Col. Benson served in the artillery arm of the British Army, and died at the Battle of Brakenlaagte during the Boer War in 1901.

The structure has been a talking point this year in the wake of recent Black Lives Matter protests, which have led to much debate over public monuments.

But at Monday’s meeting of Hexham Town Council, the Mayor of Hexham, Coun. Bob Hull, said specialists had cleaned the monument, but were restricted to the plinth and plaque.

He explained: “The nature of the stone makes it difficult to do more than what they have done. They may damage it if they do more, but I agree it looks patchy.”

Town councillor Derek Kennedy, who also represents Hexham West on Northumberland County Council, said he funded the project out of his council member’s allowance.

He said: “Given the age of the monument, its close proximity to traffic, and materials used in its construction, any aggressive treatment might cause damage to the stonework. It is cleaner than it was, and this has been done without causing damage.”