Marking VE75 As A School At Distance
Holderness Academy and Sixth Form College had many plans to mark VE75 and had been involved in the extensive planning of the Hedon events organised by the town council that, so sadly, could not take place. When we heard of the ‘Stay at home’ house and garden parties competition we wanted to show our support.
Staff brought out of storage an old friend… Back in 2013, three Year 10 BTEC students designed a sculpture. Guy Sparkes, Director of Patrington Haven Leisure Park set our students a brief to create a piece of public art that would pay homage to the site's former use as RAF Patrington, which operated as a radar station in the war and the following years.
The students were in regular communication with Malton Laser, who produced the final sculpture, to ensure the designs matched the technical capabilities. We also had input from ex-servicemen, including an amazing visit from an inspirational man called Slim Walmsley who stayed an afternoon to talk to staff and students about his life in the army. Slim was over 80 and sadly died that weekend. We were the last people who Slim talked to about his days serving his country. We felt honoured to have met him and it galvanised the students to make sure the design was great.
The students drew out several plans but settled on a design based around a saluting airman who has wings attached. The symbol on the wings are a nod to the radar station function of the base and are cut from stainless steel. The airman is cut from Cor-ten steel, the same material as the Angel of The North. Over the years it has rusted up into a lovely brown/orange colour but the radar wings remain silver steel; a deliberate choice to symbolise that the people may age with time but the protection they gave never fades.
In school we have a four foot model of the sculpture produced by Malton Laser that the students had used to work on any final changes they wished to make. We thought he was the perfect mark of respect on VE75 standing over our school reminding us all to protect one another.
We also invited students and staff to share what they were doing in their own homes and gardens to celebrate and pay respect. This was put together as a short video to mark our reflection and remembrance of those in our community that have and continue to protect us and to remind us all that we will all meet again.