North Staffordshire’s newest sculpture unveiled in memory of wildlife-loving waste picker

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A new sculpture of a heron is turning heads in the center of a North Staffordshire village. The artwork was unveiled in Madeley last week in memory of local resident Phil Shaw, who died in 2019.

The metal heron, which has been installed next to Madeley Pool opposite the Offley Arms pub, pays tribute to Phil’s love of wildlife and his hard work for the village as a member of the Madeley Tidy Group. It was sculpted by Hanley-based Achieve Training and unveiled by Councilor Simon White.

Members of the Madeley Tidy Group commissioned the memorial artwork and arranged for it to be installed in the conservation area. They were delighted to finally see it installed after the project was delayed by Covid.

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Chair Anne Shaw – unrelated to Phil – said: “Phil was a long-time member of the Madeley Tidy Group and traveled in all weathers to undertake gardening and litter picking in the village.

“He has always done this with good humor and enthusiasm. The sculpture site is central to the community and close to Madeley Pool, reflecting Phil’s love of wildlife.”

Councilor Simon White said the new artwork was a fitting tribute to Phil. He said: “Phil did a lot for this community – I don’t know if people realize how much he did. He was phenomenal and worked so hard for Madeley Tidy Group and Madeley Runaround, leading people in the community .

“Madeley is a very friendly village and everyone misses Phil. This sculpture is set in a lovely location and pays a very fitting tribute to him.”

The heron sculpture is two meters tall, made from mild steel which is then galvanized and powder coated. The piece was designed and produced by 19-year-old art apprentice Bayley Palmer, and the work was overseen by Achieve Training’s artistic director, Phil Brown.

Bayley said: “It’s great to see the heron statue installed in Madeley. Although I’ve worked on artwork before as part of my apprenticeship, this is the first sculpture I’ve done entirely by myself, from designing the heron to building it and making the design.

“It’s exciting to see something you’ve been working on being posted publicly for everyone to enjoy.”

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