THE bank holiday will stick in the minds of Cwmbran residents for a long time after they spotted an eight-foot statue of Jesus on top of a hill.

A replica of Christ the Redeemer loomed over Cwmbran from the top of Twmbarlwm for more than an hour yesterday afternoon.

The owner of Pontnewydd-based Event Prop Shop, Stephen Bancroft, with five other people had carried the statue to the top of the hill.

“We managed to get it to the top within 30 minutes,” he said.

“It was a joint effort between myself, my son Tyler, Mark Taylor and his two sons.

“It was pretty hard going because it is very heavy.

“It is made of fibre glass.”

He added: “It is also a good way to get fit so I should not complain.”

Mr Bancroft said he decided to carry the statue to the top after feeling inspired by the Pope’s recent visit to Ireland.

“I am not a particularly religious man,” he said.

“But after watching the Pope’s visit to Ireland, it did make me think that we should do something.

“Because I own a prop business I have lots of different props.

“We have had the Christ the Redeemer statue for about a year and sadly it has never seen the light of day.

That was until we took it to the top of Twmbarlwm.

“We got it up there at 2pm.

After about an hour we brought it back down again.”

He added: “Our prop is much smaller than the real thing in Brazil. Quite a lot of people spotted it though and seemed quite intrigued by it.”

Dog walker George Holden was one of those people.

“I walk my dog along there most days,” said the 53-yearold.

“In all of the years I have walked along here I will never forget today.

“I spotted a group of people carrying something big.

I could not work out what it was.

“It was only when they managed to get it to the top that I knew.”

He added: “I was amazed and could not stop looking at it.

“I felt as if I was having an epiphany.”

Coed Eva resident Laura Matthews felt “shocked” when she saw the statue.

“It is the last thing you expect to see,” she said. “I was there with my boyfriend. We knew what the statue is of.

“We were still shocked to see it.”