A MOSAIC that served as a memorial to one of the Isle of Wight’s most beloved jazz musicians is in safe hands and will be resurrected.

The late James Alfred ‘Skimbo’ White, leader of the iconic Ventnor Comic Jazz Band, had a memorial mosaic embedded at ground level in Spring Hill Garden, Ventnor, in his honour.

It has been absent for several months, but volunteers have been hard at work behind the scenes, restoring it to its former glory.

The original mosaic had been severely damaged — due not to vandalism — but by the destructive cocktail of human feet, bicycles and skateboards that constantly went over it.

It was then replaced with a free-standing mosaic created by Island artist Helen Goodman, only for the elements to wreak havoc upon the new piece, creating gradual deterioration over the course of several years.

Ventnor resident Jan Pargeter has revealed that work is currently afoot to restore it.

She said: “Ventnor mosaic group, of which I am a member, was approached by the Spring Hill Garden committee to see if we could restore it.

“It has been a difficult task as the baseboard was badly damaged and many tiles were missing from the mosaic, but with the help of Ventnor Shed we are making progress.”

Jan, and fellow volunteer Pam Hales, are among those who have undertaken the arduous task of mending the mosaic, which was peeling and chipped.

Worse still, the backboard that had once supported it was rife with rot and had started to crumble away.

Gently prising the mosaic from the damaged board, the group re-laid it on to a new foundation.

When all the missing tiles are replaced, the mosaic will be framed and made as weatherproof as possible.

It will then be presented back to the Spring Hill Garden committee and Ventnor Enhancement Group so it can take pride of place once more in the garden, in honour of Skimbo.

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