River of Life memorial

Schoolchildren create town legacies

December 19, 2013 | Nick Taylor

ARTISTIC legacies representing peace, hope and reconciliation to mark the 20th anniversary of the IRA bombing of Warrington are being crafted by Warrington schoolchildren.

And a sculpture is also being designed which draws upon some of the themes from the artwork and will be presented to the town when completed next year.

Twenty primary schools are currently taking part in the project, in conjunction with Warrington council’s families and wellbeing service, Culture Warrington and two artists Andy and Sharon Shaw. This project follows on from the commemorative events held in March to mark the 20th anniversary.

As part of the first phase of the project, each school is running its own art workshop with Andy and Sharon who are helping the children develop their artistic techniques.

With ‘peace’, ‘hope’, ‘respect’ and ‘the future’ as their inspiration, the children are using their creative talents to design an individual piece of artwork using watercolour paints, coloured pencils and oil pastels.

Their final artwork will then be transferred onto foamex panels to be put on display in each school and there are plans to turn the imaginative pieces into a public exhibition.

All of this is the forerunner to the creation of a sculpture, which will encompass some of the themes from the art displays and will represent Warrington’s commitment to peace and reconciliation.

The council is also appealing for residents, groups and businesses to get in touch if they would like to play their part in this project by sponsoring the sculpture.

Alongside these art projects and with the support of Culture Warrington’s Museum & Art Gallery there are plans to create an augmented reality history game and interactive web pages based on the history of Warrington for schools and the public to use.

The project team are working on submitting a funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Cllr Mike Hannon, deputy leader of the council, said:

“This is an important year for Warrington and I am delighted to see so many schoolchildren using their creative flair in a project that has so much meaning for our town. In the aftermath of the bombing in 1993 children at the time helped to create the 12 discs that form part of the River of Life memorial and it fills me with great pride that 20 years on the next generation are making a similar contribution to the town’s history.”

“What happened in March 1993 will always be a part of our history and it is important to me that future generations understand not only what happened but also learn about how Warrington came together as a town and moved forward during a very difficult and emotional time. It is very fitting that our schoolchildren are working together on a positive creative project during the 20th anniversary year and I look forward to seeing all the artwork on display.”

Angela Grace, head teacher at Penketh South CE Primary School who has coordinated the project and engaged with schools, said:

“When we all met earlier this year it was clear that we wanted to create something visual that our gifted children could get involved in and allow for their creative talents to flourish.

“This project has also provided an opportunity for our pupils to learn about the tragic events of the Warrington bombing and also create their own gift that they can give to the community.”

Sharon said: “We were delighted to be asked to design, lead and deliver these art workshops. We asked the children to provide us with their own drawings and designs based on the themes of ‘love, peace, hope, forgiveness, unity and friendship’. We then used these to create a composition that is unique to each school. This was then applied onto a 4ft by 2ft wooden board and we then worked with the children and began the wonderful process of colour mixing and painting resulting in some truly stunning collaborative works of art.

Andy said: “I have also been asked to use the children’s interpretations of their themes to inspire a sculptural artwork for the town. I am currently working on these designs and I have found the whole process of a collaborative art project to be a truly inspiring experience.”


News release – Warrington Council

Below are the 20 primary schools taking part and they all have their own individual artwork

Penketh South

St Vincent’s Catholic

Penketh Community

St Andrew’s CE

Stockton Heath

Thelwall Juniors

Bradshaw Community

Newchurch Community

Statham Community

Park Road Community

Sankey Valley St James CE

Twiss Green Community

Latchford St James CE

Locking Stumps Community

Broomfields Junior

Hollins Green St Helen’s

Barrow Hall Community

Chapelford Village

Brook Acre Community

Christchurch CE