Saturday, 20 December 2014
NEWSLINK-GREAT BRITIAIN- HULL-Why big cat is roaring at Viccy Park
AN old tree that was damaged by strong winds has been carved into a stunning sculpture that is being described as a roaring success. After taking a battering during storms the 70-year-old oak tree was posing a danger to Victoria Park’s visitors. Initially, the plan of park officer Jill Barlow was to use the trunk of the tree to make a bench at the park, near the beautifully restored venue’s bandstand. However, when sculptor Thompson Dagnall, 58, was contacted he developed the idea to revive one of the park’s old features and make a carving based on a tiger statue from the Mansion House museum, which produced so many fond and scary memories. Visitors to the park watched with fascination over the weeks as the ‘big cat’s’ fearsome frame was carved into the fallen tree. This week Kirkby-born Thompson, who for the past 25 years has crafted public artworks in stone, wood, steel and cast iron, shared more details of its creation. In keeping with the musical theme of the bandstand, the tiger is playing the jungle drums. But he doubles as a bench too, enabling people to watch performances on the bandstand, and is an intriguing backdrop to the park run, which attracts hundreds of entrants each Saturday morning. “There were worries that the tree could crush the bandstand and so it had to come down,” said Thom, who worked on the miners’ monument that stands near the YMCA roundabout, off Duke Street, in St Helens town centre. “Jill asked me to have a look at it with a view to doing a bench, but with it being so close to the bandstand I thought it would be perfect to link it in and make a kettle drum. “And as soon as I heard about the tiger I thought the tree would lend itself to the animal, so I thought ‘why not?’ “I was there working on it for about seven days over a three-week period until it was finished.” The tiger bench has swiftly become an attraction for visitors, who have been busy snapping pictures of themselves alongside it.