The original Cycling Moo Kay was rustled from its grazing spot at the top of Box Hill overnight on Thursday-Friday, 18-19 August.
Police launched an investigation but the life-size, fibre-glass creature has not been since – leaving Cycling UK, the Guildford-based national cycling charity, fearing it would miss out on much-needed funds when all the Surrey Hills cows are auctioned in the autumn.
But CowParade chiefs have kindly agreed to supply another ‘naked’ model and have commissioned Dorking artist and cyclist Charles Rowbotham to paint her.
Cycling UK Chief Executive Paul Tuohy was feeling understandably bullish about the news. He said: “We are delighted and extremely grateful about this wonderful gesture to create Cycling Moo Kay II, the daughter – or should that be calf – of our stolen cow.
“The theft was heartless but now we will have a cow to auction after all, which will provide welcome funds to help us in our work to make cycling a normal everyday activity which can be enjoyed by everyone.”
About 60 brightly-coloured cows have been on show across the county this summer as part of the Surrey Hills CowParade.
A preview event was held at the venue the previous evening, when artist Charles and fellow Cycling UK member Doug Clare, the man who organised the original Moo Kay, posed beside a giant photo of the stolen cow.
All the cows – Moo Kay II included – will be auctioned off in October and November, with funds being split between the individual charities who have sponsored them and the Surrey Hills Trust Fund.
Charles, whose new studio opens this week in Church Street Workshops, Dorking, spent over 80 hours painting the original Moo Kay.
“But I’m chuffed that I can now have another crack at Moo Kay II, as I feel passionate about giving something back to the community and the charity. I haven’t finalised the exact details of how she will look, but it will be pretty much a replica of the original.”
CowParade Surrey Leader Tim Metson commented: “We were devastated when Cycling Moo Kay was stolen and had an outpouring of grief and support to find her from the general public.
“Sadly she is still missing but we were very keen that Cycling UK didn’t miss out on auction proceeds so we are delighted to offer them another cow canvas. Charlie Rowbotham is a very talented local artist and we know he will do a fantastic job – we look forward to Cycling Moo Kay II joining the herd.”
He said: “I’m so glad that Cycling UK will not be losing out following the theft. Formerly known as CTC, the organisation has been promoting cycling and protecting cyclists since 1878. As an avid cyclist myself, it seemed a natural choice to support the great work they do as the UK’s national cycling charity – especially as their National Head Office is in Guildford.”
Two cow auctions will take place, one in Surrey at Sandown Park on 20 October and a ‘Gala’ auction in London at Hampton Court Palace on 17 November.
The cows will be auctioned by Ewbank’s, the Premier International Antiques and Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers in Surrey and Hampshire, who are able to take on-line bids prior to and during both events at www.ewbankauctions.co.uk