A NEW statue has been hoisted into place on Salisbury Cathedral's West Front, marking two important anniversaries.

It shows Canon Ezra Baya Lawiri, a Sudanese priest and scholar, who was killed in crossfire between government and rebel forces in his troubled country in 1991.

As well as being the 750th anniversary of the Cathedral's consecration, this year is the 35th anniversary of the special link between the Cathedral and the Sudan.

The Bishop of Rokom in the Sudan was among those at a special dedication ceremony on Saturday.

The statue was carved by Jason Battle, and was the fifth he has created for the recently restored West Front, where it joins 67 others.

He said: "It was a great privilege to be invited to design and sculpt it.

"I took my inspiration from two rather poor quality photographic images, together with the story of his life's work and the tragedy of his death, and finally began sculpting the stone, a superb block of Chicksgrove limestone, in February.

"The statue weighs about one ton, and I am very, very pleased with the finished piece - I'll sleep much better now it is safely mounted onto the side of the Cathedral.

"Seeing it being lifted up by the crane was possibly the most stressful part of the whole process!"

Canon Treasurer of the Cathedral, Mark Bonney, thanked the Friends of Salisbury Cathedral for their support in commissioning the statue.

"It is incredibly moving to look at," he added.

"As well as celebrating our diocesan link, it commemorates the courageous witness of Christians in the Sudan, and reflects the Church's ongoing concern to promote social justice.

"The detail on Ezra's face and hands is extraordinary, and the expression on his face is one of great intensity."