Silent Sunday…….. Too Many Memories

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Freddie Gilroy – Retired Miner and Soldier.

Deep in thought, or painful memories, this sculpture capture, a gentleman  recalling events that  would have scarred anyone’s life,  creating images permanently etched  within the mind.  Freddie Gilroy joined the army at the start of WW2,  but it was just before his 24th Birthday, when he was one of the first groups of soldiers to relieve Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.   It is said, that he cried and every year on his birthday he shed more tears.

This sculpture, created from steel, is the work of Ray Lonsdale from County Durham.  Freddie was also from a mining community in County Durham.  I understand they became friends and that Ray heard  Freddie recount events from his life and the terrible memories he retained.  This inspired  Ray to create what has become a fitting memorial.  It has been said by others that Freddie was ‘a normal person, leading a normal life but had to experience extraordinary events and dangers of WW2’…..   the horrors of Belsen can never be forgotten.  Harsh lasting memories and a hard mining life, Freddie Gilroy died in 2008.

This larger than life sculpture can be found on a bench, with Freddie gazing out to sea, on the Promenade at North Bay, Scarborough, Yorkshire.  It was originally only an installation for a season.  However it was taken to the hearts of locals.  One person so moved donated the funds to secure its permanent location.

As we make new memories in difficult times we must not forget the trauma experienced by others over the years……   Today it is  also important that we….

 Remember to….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

23rd August

(C) David Oakes 2020

Tough life being an Artist

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A group of local Artists set up for a morning of “Plein Air” painting and sketching in the Hydrangea gardens.  This rather distinguished gentleman had found himself a shady spot.   Now I am not sure, if having his eyes closed meant, he was seeking inspiration, mentally visualising the scene … or simple  enjoying  a short snooze  🙂

Whatever you plan to do….

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

3rd August

(C) David Oakes 2020

 

Canal Side Art…….

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Many years ago I stumbled across this display of canal side art. Created of course to appeal to those creative interior and garden design folk anxious to create colourful and dimensional statements.  They are loosely based upon the art styles used on the old Narrowboats, not authentic as narrowboat art has its very own style.  The Artist (if I recall correctly was called Helen Underhill)  and had her Studio based next to the Staffs and Worcester Canal at Stourport.  The Studio was and old Lock side cottage dated 1853.

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Apart from , lets call it Tourist Art, she also sold traditional accessories for todays narrowboat owners.  Not sure after all these years that the Studio is still open….. but Narrowboats will still pass through these locks….

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15th February

(David Oakes 2020

An Aptly Timed Discovery…….

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Whilst visiting friends in Stourbridge we came across this rather fine Bronze Statue. A seated figure with trilby hat feeding a starling… finely detailed, skilfully crafted and so lifelike.

On the wall behind the figure was a plaque.  It simply stated….

The statue of Major Frank Foley was unveiled by HRH Duke of Cambridge on September 18th 2018.

This simple plaque left so many questions which needed investigating and so my knowledge of our history was expanded.

Major Francis ‘Frank’ Foley CMG  was born in 1884.  He became a Secret Intelligence Agent for the British Government.  Prior to the Second World War he was station at the British Embassy in Berlin and was responsible for the Passport Control Office.

In this position he was able, as they say, to ‘bend the rules’ and by so doing was able to ensure that several thousand Jewish Families could escape Nazi Germany and the terrors and deaths of the Kristallnacht.  He also had the respect of the Embassies of several other friendly countries who he was able to persuade to cooperate in the issuing of Visas for their counties.

Major Foley has been recognised as a ‘British  Hero of the Holocaust’…..the British Schindler.

I did say that this was an aptly timed discovery as this Thursday World Leaders met in Jerusalem for the World Holocaust Forum ahead of Mondays 75th Remembrance of the Liberation of Auschwitz.

After the war Major Foley retired in 1949 and lived in Stourbridge where he died in 1958. He was held in great affection by the local community where he contributed to the town and its peoples. It was folk from the community who arranged for the statue to this unsung war hero to be commissioned and Sculptor Jonathan Sells was contracted.

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Major Frank Foley can be found sitting peacefully in Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge, West Midlands.

24th January

(C) David Oakes 2020

Art…. But will it Save Lives ?

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The Knife Angel

A very creative piece of Art is paying a short visit to Derby as part of a tour round the UK.

It is located in the shadow of the Tower of Derby Cathedral.

Known as the Knife Angel, it has been sculptured from thousands of knives and blades. The knives themselves have come from ‘amnesty bins’ collected from across the Country, bins where people were asked to deposit these potential weapons.

Artist Alfie Bradley and the British Ironwork Company created the sculpture as their contribution to increasing awareness in Knife Crime. The aim being to help combat Violence and Aggression.  Knife Crime across the UK has been very much on the increase, many initiatives are in place and the focus of much Police activity.  The Knife Angel is hoped to be a passive expression of hope that the problem can be overcome.

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The Knife Angel has certainly attracted the crowds.  It is a spectacular and dramatic Sculpture.  Listening to the crowds whilst the majority were in awe and full of praise it wasn’t to everyone’s liking.

As for my view…. well it certainly has to be praised for the creative skill and the drama it creates.  But…and this is the BIG but…. whilst it attracts the crowds, creates a great deal of discussion, I do wonder if it will attract those, predominantly young folk, who carry knives and commit knife crime…. will they understand and absorb the message.

I guess even if it saves only one life of another youngster it will all be worthwhile.

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15th October

(C) David Oakes 2019