Sculptor Thompson engaged for heron work of art in Uppermill

UPPERMILL’s latest tourist attraction is a first for creator Thompson Dagnall.


Thompson Dagnall and his heron carving

But the Liverpool born sculptor’s work of art in St Chad’s Gardens has already attracted plenty of admiring glances.

Thompson, 62, was commissioned to transform the trunk of a cherry tree which was cut down in size due to decay.

“Normally, I decide something that is right for the spot,” explained Thompson.

“And I don’t usually get asked to carve trees; I’d perhaps only do four or five a year,” he told the Independent.

“But this time I was specifically asked to do a heron which is a first for me.

“The tree is long and thin so you can only use what you have there.

“So, I reckoned if I put a fish in the heron’s mouth I would use more of the timber.


You can see the work of art in St Chads Gardens in Uppermill

“This tree was in a very poor state – it’s absolute hollow inside. It’s a good job they took it down.”

The subject was chosen due to the trunk’s proximity to the River Tame and local wildlife as there have been several sightings of a heron on the riverbank.

The bird also has a variety of positive meanings and symbolisms in a number of cultures, including self-determination, self-reflection, inquisitiveness, curiosity and determination along with strength and patience.

Thompson, who studied at Brighton Polytechnic and Chelsea College, reckons his heron should remain in place for several decades.


Richard and George Ellis from Delph with basket maker Cherry Chung

“The Council say they will coat the sculpture with clear preservative and also preserve the base of the tree,” he explained.

“I have things at my place that I did 20 years ago so there is a chance of some longevity.”

The unveiling of the finished sculpture took place during the Easter School holidays.

To mark the occasion a variety of woodland craft stalls were put on alongside a range of family activities.

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