Wednesday, July 8, 2015

News: The new heart of Rotherham town centre

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A two metre high Heart of Steel sculpture has been installed in Minster Gardens in Rotherham town centre - "a symbol of love that local people have for their town."

The artwork is linked to the Man of Steel project - the iconic piece of art designed to be a landmark gateway sculpture close to the M1 that will recognise the history of steel and coal in the region, and preside over a new age of technology and specialised steel production.

Planning permission was granted conditionally in 2012 for the 27.3m high Man of Steel art installation, based on work by local sculptor Steve Mehdi, on a former land fill site at Kimberworth in Rotherham.

A not-for-profit charitable company, Yorkshire Icon Limited, has been created which will work with the Rotherham Council, stakeholder partners, and other trustees to manage the project and deliver a lasting legacy that includes education and apprenticeships.

The Man of Steel is to have his own Heart of Steel, a 2.5 tonne sculpture, made from super alloys and containing up to 150,000 names of individuals from across the region. Partners have recently linked up with the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the nation's heart charity and the largest independent funder of cardiovascular research.

A full scale replica has been gifted to Rotherham by the charity behind the Man of Steel project with the generous support of Outokumpu High Performance Stainless and Maher Ltd.

The 2.5 tonne heart sculpture is made of Outokumpu Supra 316/4401 stainless steel and sits on a plinth made out of local stone from Ulley Quarry.

An event took place on July 4 to unveil the artwork.

Until now the landmark project has been supported entirely by the private sector, but the new initiative allows for donations from members of the public which enables their names, or names of loved ones, to be on the heart of steel.

Rotherham was one of the first 50 towns in the UK to sign up as a BHF Heart Town as part of the initiative to bring entire communities together through local fundraising and volunteering to help beat heart disease.

Commissioner Stella Manzie, managing director of Rotherham Council, said: "The Minster Gardens is already a relaxing slice of green in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Rotherham town centre, with the inclusion of this fantastic work of art, it will become an even more beautiful and poignant place.

"This event shows what large hearts the people and organisations of Rotherham and South Yorkshire have. The list of local sponsors demonstrates the enthusiasm for this wonderful artwork, and how clearly the businesses embrace the ethos of "Love Your Town, Love Your Heart."

"Specific thanks should go to artist Steve Mehdi, who has clearly recognised the importance and impact of Rotherham as a Heart Town and all the work that has gone into raising funds to install 52 defibrillators across the area.

"His efforts, as well as those of all the sponsors of the Rotherham Heart of Steel is one that will be remembered for many, many years to come."

Yorkshire Man of Steel website

Images: RMBC

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