Sculpture plan takes off

A FORMER sheet metal worker is making a sculpture which will eventually be placed in a public park in an attempt to foster more art in the county. Paul Pibworth believes not enough attention is being paid to art in public places so at his own expense he i

A FORMER sheet metal worker is making a sculpture which will eventually be placed in a public park in an attempt to foster more art in the county.

Paul Pibworth believes not enough attention is being paid to art in public places so at his own expense he is making a sculpture of his own which will eventually be erected in Potton's Henry Smith's playing field.

Mr Pibworth, a former pupil at Potton Primary School and Sandy Upper School, learned his metalworking trade at Rusper Sheet Metal in Biggleswade before gaining a degree in design and art at Bedford College.

"When I conducted a comprehensive survey of public art provision in Bedfordshire, I was struck by how little meaningful commissioning had taken place in our county," said Mr Pibworth, of Manor Way, Potton.

"Good examples of public art elsewhere have helped foster civic pride and can even contribute to a greater sense of well-being within communities.

"As yet there are no major initiatives to develop public art in Potton and not wishing my town to miss out I decided to put together a public proposal of my own."

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Mr Pibworth got his inspiration from rock band Queen's song Spread Your Wings from their 1977 album News of The World where John Deacon's lyrics tell the story of Sammy, an ordinary man in a dead end job, but with ambitions of a new life and better prospects.

After two months of negotiations, a royalty payment of £30 changed hands and Mr Pibworth was granted a licence to use the lyrics for his sculpture.

The artwork will be fabricated from sheet metal made at a forge in Sutton, and take the form of swallow in flight. The hollowed structure, that will eventually be eight feet square, will be filled with concrete to make it strong.

"I have had to beg, steal and borrow the stainless steal that is worth around £2,000. If this was a commission I would be charging £15,000," added Mr Pibworth.

"I have already gained financial support and crucial kind assistance from a number of local businesses and organisations.

"Their support will go a long way towards covering the cost of the artwork transportation, digging and piling the footings, installing the sculpture, provision for a structural engineer's report and the planning application process.

"But by introducing a sculpture into our park, Potton will be taking a lead role in Bedfordshire.

"Spread Your Wings will remind people of their past experiences and perhaps fuel future ambitions. I strongly believe that we can all recall a job which has dragged us down, or a particular boss who never quite gave us the credit we deserved.

"Queen's song is a testimony to that fact and compels us to take responsibility and act. Put simply, if you are not happy, then cut loose and move on."

In an attempt to raise funds for the project a special concert has been arranged at St Mary's Church, Potton, with the support of the Rev Wyn Beynon, on Friday, March 7, at 8pm with the theme being birds of flight. Entry will cost £6 with concessions at £4.