"The business is on the right track," says Léon Gendre. Former mayor of La Flotte, on the Ile de Ré, this octogenarian has taken the lead of a real crusade and the association Preservation of the Statue of the Virgin. His ambition? To reinstall the famous work that was toppled following the decision of the Council of State last October and a long tug-of-war with the Federation of Free Thought of Charente-Maritime. Once installed in public spaces, this statue was contrary to secularism. The municipality therefore complied and has since put the Virgin away in its municipal workshops. Its defenders have changed their plans and now want to buy – via the association – a private plot of land to reinstall this statue.
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Where exactly? "5 m from its former location, behind a stone wall," explains Léon Gendre. We are going to buy an area of 14 m2 and build a pedestal to support the virgin and make her visible. According to the former elected official, this maneuver would reflect "the will of the inhabitants of La Flotte." Cost of the project: more than 15,000 euros. "We don't have them," admits Léon Gendre. But we will relaunch a new fundraiser if necessary. Otherwise, the association will take out a bank loan and we will act as guarantors. According to him, the formalities are underway, "the cadastral division has been carried out. The association Preservation of the Statue of the Virgin hopes to reinstall the Virgin by the end of January. "It will be taller than before, its pedestal will exceed the wall by about 10 cm," says Léon Gendre.