Corby community lake sculptures oar-some launch falls foul of coronavirus restrictions

The mayor of Corby was to take to the lake in a rowing boat to cut the ribbon at the official opening of the new artworks

By Alison Bagley
Tuesday, 17th March 2020, 9:55 am

Plans for the unveiling of new artworks in Corby's Oakley Vale estate sculpture park have been put on hold as a result of coronavirus outbreak.

The pair of sculptures gracing two of the Corby estate's lakes had been placed into the water last month and were to be officially unveiled at a special floating ribbon cutting ceremony this weekend.

Last weekend, local volunteer scuba divers spent three and a half hours adjusting the foundations to make sure that they were secure and upright.

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Heron Tree with l-r Tom Nicholl and Su Eld-Weaver from GP Diving and Paul Mills from MVS (Marine Service Volunteers).

Paul Balmer, chairman of Oakley Vale Community Association who has been working on the sculpture park project, said: "I'm really pleased how it's turned out.

"When you imagine these things it's one thing but seeing them in the lakes is another. They look great reflected in the water.

"Sculpture can break down barriers and get people talking. It's all about building a community - and the birds like it too."

Expert divers from GP Diving helped with the final part of the installation alongside Paul Mills from MVS (Marine Service Volunteers).

Heron Tree and Corby Heritage

The sculptures, 'Corby Heritage' and 'Heron Tree', form an extension to Corby's sculpture park near the lakes either side of Chatsworth Road and were designed by members of Corby Rooftop Arts Centre.

Corby Heritage, incorporating wood from Rockingham Forest, steel from Stewarts and Lloyds and Brick from The Corby Brick Company, was gifted by Corby sculptor Ray Andrew, who died last year.

His brother, who lives in London, was to have travelled to see the ceremony.

Heron Tree, stainless-steel six-stemmed branched design, incorporates the iconic Steelman’s ladle, as well as one of the ‘Twa Corbies’, or ravens, from the town’s heraldry and a nod to the town's road system in the tubular design.

Su Eld-Weaver from GP Diving adjusts the foundations of the sculpture

Designed by Richard Harrison, Warren Shaw and Dinah Kazakoff the stainless steel artwork was created by Kettering-based specialist marine engineers Cooney Marine transforming the drawings into a reality using a 3D tube bending machine that produces components for luxury yachts.

Mr Balmer added: "The divers were amazing and we could not have done it without them. They came in full wets suits and masks to correct the tilt

"All the signage has been designed and built by Tresham College apprentices made with Tata steel. The signs will have a QR code which will allow visitors to access information about the sculptures in 17 different languages.

At the ceremony the Mayor of Corby, Ray Beeby was to have been rowed into the lake and invited to cut a ribbon to mark the official opening of the new artworks.

Paul Balmer with the team from Cooney Marine, Kettering who made the sculpture

The after-ceremony party including morris dancers, a concert by Oakley Rangers musical group and a film show, made by Corby apprentices has also been cancelled.