Award commendation
Prior Pursglove College

College's anniversary sculpture awarded design commendation

A sculpture that formed the legacy of Prior Pursglove College’s 450th anniversary celebrations has been commended for its outstanding design.

At a ceremony at Belmont House, Guisborough, the college and the students involved in the design of the sculpture were recognised.

The 9ft sculpture was commissioned by the Prior Pursglove College’s Foundation Governors as a lasting tribute to the college’s 450th anniversary and was fabricated by blacksmith James Godbold.

The sculpture itself is a large tree made from metal and features 45 leaves; one for each decade there has been education on the site of the college. Some of the leaves have been stamped with various symbols representing the different aspects of education within the college and some have been left blank so that future generations can add their own mark to the tree. The trunk is placed upon a plinth made of three books, one of which is also blank symbolising the on-going education and future growth of the college.

The design of the sculpture was chosen by the Foundation Governors who asked students studying Fine Art to submit their ideas. The winning design was created by Sammy Jackson and Heather Green, both from Redcar. Explaining her reasoning around the idea for the design, Sammy said “Since the college was 450 years old we thought that an oak tree would symbolise antiquity. We chose vines instead of a solid trunk so that it was a delicate design. The book plinth is to symbolise education, along with the stamped leaves showing different subjects so that the overall effect is a tree of knowledge.”

Both students have now finished their courses at Guisborough based Prior Pursglove College but were both in attendance at the commendation ceremony. Heather said “It’s a real honour, I wasn’t aware of the commendation until a week ago so it’s a lovely surprise. Lots of effort was put into the design of the sculpture so it’s nice to see that it has paid off and will be admired for years to come.”

Heather had her appendix removed just four days before the commendation event, so showed real commitment to rise from her sick bed to accept the award. She is currently studying Foundation in Fine Art at Cleveland College of Art and Design and is waiting to hear if her application to study Fine Art at a London-based University has been accepted. She continued, “The award is also great for me as it backs up where I am heading. I’ve kept on the arts path and the sculpture will always support my future ambitions.”

Sammy Jackson said, “A lot of hours went into the design and creation of the sculpture so to see the hard work myself and Heather put in rewarded is fantastic.” Sammy was an active member of the Students’ Union team during her time at Prior Pursglove College and is now looking forward to starting an apprenticeship with Redcar & Cleveland Council.

Councillor Peter Spencer, Built Environment Champion, presented the commendation to Sammy and Heather, Ian Alexander, Chairman of the Foundation Governors at Prior Pursglove College, and Judy Burton, Principal at Prior Pursglove College. Mr Spencer said “The sculpture offers an excellent concept of what the college is about. It encompasses the past, present and the future because this imposing piece of work would be of interest particularly as it grows in future years. I think everybody, particularly Sammy and Heather, can be congratulated for their brilliant work.”

Judy Burton, Principal at Prior Pursglove College, said “The sculpture was the lasting icon of our 450th anniversary celebration so I am delighted to see Sammy and Heather recognised for their design while the excellent craftsmanship of local blacksmith James Godbold should also be admired. The sculpture will be here for future generations to come, and if the local public haven’t visited yet they are more than welcome to come and see exactly why the creation was commended.”

The sculpture is located between Prior Pursglove College’s Waterhouse building and Applegarth path, the public footpath that runs alongside St Nicholas Church, Guisborough. An image of the sculpture can be viewed on Prior Pursglove College’s website.

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