Black Country sculptor creates tribute to NHS and care workers fighting coronavirus
Sculptor Luke Perry from Stourbridge has created a beautiful steel mesh angel sculpture as a tribute to NHS and care staff who are bravely battling against the coronavirus pandemic.
The four-metre tall figure has been installed in Lightwoods Park, Bearwood. The location was specially chosen as it sits next to a road route used by many NHS and care workers travelling between the Black Country and Birmingham.
Luke has a chain-making factory in Cradley Heath which has been in his family since 1910. It was there that he gathered the materials for his NHS tribute which he entitled ‘Thank you NHS and Care Workers’.
He said: “So, with the materials that we had in the factory – just bare-bones bits of steel and chicken wire and mesh – I came up with this concept.
“Like everyone, I have family members who owe their lives to the NHS and I wanted to create a piece of public art that captures the huge public outpouring of thanks to our health and care workers at this time.”
He added: “It is also a monument to all those who have lost their lives on the frontline fighting the virus and a reminder of how important the NHS is.
“This is a marker to all our key workers and everyone fighting this ‘war’ and acknowledges their commitment and sacrifices.
“I have used steel and other metals available in our factory to create the sculpture and I wanted the figure to have wings to symbolise the angelic quality of our health and care workers.”
The sculpture was funded by private donation but Luke expressed thanks to Sandwell Council for helping to find the ideal roadside location to install the work where frontline key workers will see the tribute.
He said: “I would like to thank Sandwell Council for helping to find an ideal location for the sculpture.
“Lightwoods Park is perfect as many health and care workers travel along the Hagley Road to and from hospitals in Birmingham and on their way to their caring roles, so I hope they will see it and know that their inspirational work is so highly valued by us all.”
Councillor Yvonne Davies, Sandwell Council leader, added: “This is a wonderful, visual symbol of the gratitude we all feel to our NHS and care workers and I would like to thank Luke Perry for creating this inspirational piece of public art.”
“We know this is a very challenging time for our health and social care workers,” she said. “We hope that when they see this sculpture at Lightwoods Park, either on their way to work or while taking their daily exercise, that it will be a reminder of how much they all mean to us and that we all appreciate the amazing job they are doing.
“The bravery and selflessness of our NHS and care workers – as well as the service of all key workers – is an inspiration to everyone.”
Luke previously produced a bronze 10-foot high statue of a Sikh soldier in Smethwick in 2018 to honour over a million Indian soldiers who contributed to the Allied war effort during World War I.
Speaking to I Am Birmingham, Luke explained: “What struck me is the amount of soldiers in the Indian sub continent who patched up the Western Front… and the amount of contributions they gave and the sacrifices they made and how it’s completely unrecognised.”
The theme of unsung heroes from his ‘Lions of the Great War’ sculpture continues with Luke’s latest work which highlights the unsung heroes of the NHS and care workers.
Luke feels that the public rarely gets a chance to express their gratitude to the NHS and care staff and he wanted to use the sculpture to ‘give them a voice’.
He explained: “People want to thank the people that care for them. This was my way of giving them a voice.
“There’s people honking all the time as they go up this road.
“Everyone is so grateful to the NHS and the care workers, and all of our key workers, and you can see that.”