A giant snowdrop has become a permanent fixture on a busy roundabout in Clayton thanks to the talents of an 18-year-old engineering apprentice from Newcastle.
Luke Steadman, who lives in May Bank, has played an instrumental part in crafting a 9ft metal sculpture of the plant which is now standing tall on the traffic island connecting Northwood Lane and Clayton Road. The Council commissioned PM Training to make the piece of art as part of an ongoing initiative, supporting the borough’s Britain in Bloom campaign, to enhance roundabouts with
models of indigenous animals and plants.
Luke cut, formed and welded the flowers out of mild steel, under the supervision of Artworks Project Manager Phil Brown, before they were hot-dip galvanised. They are about 2.5 metres tall, weigh approximately 35kg each and took around four weeks to make.
The sculpture is surrounded by herbaceous, bee-friendly perennials and has been privately funded by Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District and Derek Mawby Surfacing. Boulders were provided by Red Industries.
The snowdrop is the first flower of the year to blossom, a sign that winter is transforming into spring time, and symbolises hope.
Cllr Jill Waring, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, said: “The snowdrop is absolutely brilliant and has already attracted a lot of positive comments. It’s a great addition to our collection of sculptures which are well liked as they’re eye-catching, quirky and very
personal to the borough. Luke has once again done a fantastic job. Britain in Bloom is all about promoting and encouraging economic development by creating a pleasant environment for residents, shoppers and visitors. The benefits are acknowledged and appreciated by businesses who sponsor our various activities. We’re particularly excited about this year’s campaign as it marks our 30th year of involvement in the country’s largest horticultural competition. It’s also fantastic that young apprentices are being given the opportunity to develop their skills in this way. Luke has been involved in several projects now – this kind of experience is invaluable.”
Luke also helped to construct the hare sculpture installed on the Friars Street roundabout, opposite Vue cinema, as well as a stunning silhouette at Brampton Park representing local legend Vera Brittain’s journey towards pacifism and the women’s suffrage movement.
“I’m really enjoying my time on the Artworks team with PM Training,” said Luke. “Every sculpture we work on is different and they all come with new challenges, but I feel like I’m learning a lot and it’s always exciting to see one of our sculptures go on display for
everybody to enjoy.”
A bee and dandelion, brown trout and buzzard have also been unveiled on roundabouts in recent years.