Wise addition to school’s roundabout landmark

Photo Neil Cross
Fiyin Oladejo, Amber Cragg, Ella Gore and Tayla Finley with the new owl sculpture, at the roundabout near Longsands Primary School, after the first one was knocked over by a driver
Photo Neil Cross Fiyin Oladejo, Amber Cragg, Ella Gore and Tayla Finley with the new owl sculpture, at the roundabout near Longsands Primary School, after the first one was knocked over by a driver
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If you go out in Fulwood today, you’re in for a big surprise.

A new sculpture by renowned artist Thompson Dagnall has been sited on Longsands Lane roundabout, near to Longsands Primary School.

The oak carving of a mini owl sits on top of a previously-installed bigger version, pecking its head.

The two birds are meant to represent teachers and pupils at Longsands Primary School, which has recently had its school badge redesigned.

Headteacher Paul Seagraves said: “We could have put it in the school grounds, but we decided not to. Our ethos is that we’re very much part of the wider community and we wanted everyone to see it.”

Nine years ago the school was given a grant to work with an artist, and Thompson - who has created a number of sculptures across the north west including several at Beacon Fell - was chosen.

With pupils from Longsands as well as St Clare’s RC Primary School and Sherwood Primary School, he produced a large owl to reflect Longsand’s school symbol.

In November 2010, when the owl was knocked over and damaged in collision with a car, Thompson came back to fix it.

Paul said: “The owl had become quite a landmark by that point and people were disappointed when it had to be taken down for some time to be repaired.

“With that in mind, when we rebadged our school recently, incorporating a smaller owl next to a larger owl, we thought it would be nice to have that replicated with the sculpture.”

After working on the piece for a couple of weeks, Bretherton-based Thompson installed the metre-long carving during half term.

He said: “I thought putting a smaller owl next to the big one might look a bit twee, so I decided to put it pecking the head of the big one and called it Are We There Yet?

“It wasn’t too difficult to do and although it’s not so big, it was quite heavy and needed two of us to lift it up.

“Both owls are carved out of oak, and the baby one still looks oak-coloured, but in time it will weather to be grey like the big one.”

Paul added: “We have a great relationship with Thompson and plan to invite him along to an assembly soon so he can talk about the owl and showcase some of the other pieces he has created to the children..

“It’s all part of getting away from the mundane and expanding the creative side of what we do at the school.”