Shropshire Star

Pupils to help design Ellesmere Save the Children labyrinth

Youngsters in and around Ellesmere have been called in to help design a key feature of a major artwork commemorating two local sisters who founded the Save the Children charity.

Save the Children founder Eglantyne Jebb

More than 100 pupils at four local primary schools were asked to come up with ideas for an interactive labyrinth that will be constructed alongside the town’s mere.

The intricate pathway will form part of a landmark sculpture project marking the centenary of the international aid charity which was set up by Ellesmere-born Eglantyne Jebb and her sister Dorothy soon after the end of the First World War.

Following the Christmas break, art workshops have been taking place at Ellesmere primary school and the village C of E primaries at Welshampton, Criftins and Cockshutt.

Similar workshops were held last year when the children were asked to imagine what it would like to live as refugees, forced to flee their homes in war-torn countries such as Syria and Yemen.

The pupils' responses inspired the idea for the maze-like labyrinth that will symbolise the perilous journeys often taken by displaced children trying to escape conflict.

The group’s artistic co-ordinate Trudi Graham said: “As we have already had such fantastic support from our local schools in the early stages of the project, it was only right that we consulted the children again on how the labyrinth should look

“During our latest visits to the schools, we asked the children to trace their way through five different labyrinth designs and then to come up with their own ideas. This will be an enormous help to the professional artists we’ve engaged to carry out the work at the mere as they complete the final design.”


A children’s art workshop has also been held at Ellesmere library and there are plans to hold others for adults, including refugee immigrants living locally.

The winding pathway will be laid out near the main entrance to Cremorne Gardens overlooking the mere.

It will lead to a sculpted figure of a refugee child seeking shelter, while another sculpture will represent the Jebb sisters in abstract form.

The Jebb garden, as it will be called, is due to be completed in the spring.

It will be the final phase of an 18-month project by volunteers from the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative which has been responsible for developing a popular sculpture trail around the mere and other parts of the town over the past 10 years.

Preparatory work for the labyrinth is expected to start shortly. It will be developed with the help of Shrewsbury-based artists Sculpturelogic and will be installed by ecological groundworkers Orchardfield.

The two artists chosen to create the sculptures, Nick Eames and John Merrill, have already begun preliminary work. Mr Eames is due to carry out work at the site from February.

The project is being funded by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council England and supported by a partnership with local councils, businesses and community organisations.

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