Somme sculpture approved for Belper Memorial Gardens

The artist's vision of how the sculpture will sit in Belper's Memorial Gardens.
The artist's vision of how the sculpture will sit in Belper's Memorial Gardens.

Plans for a stunning new memorial sculpture for Belper’s First World War dead are moving forward after winning support from civic leaders.

Belper Town Council have approved plans for the piece, known as Sacrifice, which was first commissioned by Belper Arts Festival in 2016 as part of a performance tribute to the town’s 14 soldiers killed at the Battle of the Somme.

Sacrifice was designed as the backdrop to Fourteen, a performance at St Peter's Church in 2016.

Sacrifice was designed as the backdrop to Fourteen, a performance at St Peter's Church in 2016.

Designed by local graphic artist Andy Mayers, the sculpture left a lasting impact on audiences and inspired a campaign to have it erected as a permanent memorial.

Andy, 50,said: “It’s really exciting to think it could soon be happening.

“We still need to secure planning permission and funding, so there’s a lot of work to do, but the council’s approval is a big step.”

Sacrifice is made up of 29 spears, shaped and arranged to recreate the face of Lance Corporal Jim Green of the Sherwood Foresters, one of those who was killed.

The memorial pays tribute to Lance Corporal Jim Green, and 13 others killed at the Somme.

The memorial pays tribute to Lance Corporal Jim Green, and 13 others killed at the Somme.

Before joining the Army, Green was a coal hewer at Denby Colliery and a popular local footballer.

Andy said: “It only recently occurred to me that once it’s in place at the gardens, one of the views through it will be of Cow Hill, where Jim lived, so it will really be quite a poignant sight to take in.”

While Andy’s orgininal version was made of wood, the permanent sculpture is to be crafted from corten steel, the same material as the Angel of the North.

To help fund the project, visit www.belperinwartime.org.

The sculpture is to be made of the same weathered steel as the Angel of the North.

The sculpture is to be made of the same weathered steel as the Angel of the North.