Sturdy survivor of Stonehenge jape surfaces after 40 years

Wooden stick man named Bruce takes part in memorabilia exhibition at the stone circle

A survivor of one of the most audacious invasions of Stonehenge has turned up in time for this week's solstice celebrations, more than 40 years after all the perpetrators were believed to have perished in a fire. As archaeologist Julian Richards prepared to exhibit his extraordinary Stonehenge collection at Salisbury museum, including snow shakers, Victorian guide books, 1920s admission tickets - 6d (2.5p) for adults and 3d for children - and some of the dodgiest T-shirts ever screen-printed, word reached him that Bruce Bogle was ready to come out of hiding.

At first light one morning in 1966 the custodians of Stonehenge arrived to find 12 life-sized stick men, made of wood with painted Beatles mop-top hairstyles, sprawled across the stones. In one of the most elaborate japes executed at Stonehenge, the figures were held in place by cords and sacks of sand thrown over the stones. The Bogles all had neatly painted names, beginning with B, including Brian, Beatle, Boris, and Bruce.

As the horrified site guardians prepared to sweep them away to a bonfire, a schoolteacher, Austin Underwood, arrived and took the only photographs of the scene. What only emerged recently, through a conversation with his widow Mary, was that he rescued a Bogle on the roof rack of his car, which has been an asylum seeker in the family garage ever since.

Bruce Bogle has joined Richards's exhibition of Stonehenge memorabilia, which includes faked first world war postcard images of Zeppelins and biplanes buzzing the stones. His favourites include a sign scavenged in the 1980s, reading "Press pass holders and Druids only", and a Spinal Tap picture disc from the spoof rock movie, in the shape of the great trilithons. He hopes Bruce Bogle may flush out his creators, never identified. "They must now be in their 60s or even 70s - it would be wonderful if this exhibition inspired them to come out and own up at last."

Numbers visiting Stonehenge for the summer solstice last night were expected to be up this year, with the longest day falling on a Saturday. Today Arthur Uther Pendragon, self-proclaimed King of Stonehenge, will protest from a field near the site over the failure of the government and English Heritage to improve the setting of the monument. A new visitor centre, with tourists walking across pasture to the stones, was promised for the millennium. That scheme collapsed when ministers scrapped a plan to bury the road in a tunnel. All that is now on offer is "improvements" in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Inspired by Stonehenge, Salisbury museum, until September 20.


Maev Kennedy

The GuardianTramp

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