Students create memorial sculpture for Furness General Hospital

Students at Furness College have designed and created a memorial sculpture for the hospital’s maternity unit as a lasting tribute to those who died.

The sculpture was designed by art students at the sixth form campus and built by engineering students at Channelside, in consultation with representatives of the families who lost loved ones.

The memorial is outside the £12million South Lakes Birth Centre at Furness General Hospital and was unveiled to the families in a special ceremony.

It includes a moon and 11 stars to represent the mum and babies and is made of corten steel – the same material as the Angel of the North – which will rust and preserve the sculpture.

Scott Wilson, an engineering lecturer at Furness College, said the students had not only benefited from being involved but were proud to have created something really meaningful and worthwhile.

“Our art students and engineering apprentices have worked across the college’s two campuses on this very special project. From something that started as a concept on a piece of paper, it was designed and taken right through to manufacture, each stage has been carefully completed to the highest standards. To see it unveiled as a memorial that will be on display outside the South Lakes Birth Centre for many years to come was a very powerful and moving moment.”

He said the project had involved a number of key skills that the apprentices learn on their programmes – from teamwork and communication to negotiating between the trades involved and meeting deadlines – and gave them a chance to work on new materials and machinery.

“This was a very worthwhile project for the apprentices that worked on it and it was for a sculpture that is of lasting significance,” he said.

Helen Gibson, deputy head of sixth form, said the design brief had been a great opportunity for all the art and design students to work to a real client brief.

“The finished design was a product of great teamwork as it had elements of quite a few of the students’ designs incorporated into it.  The students were really passionate about taking part in the project and had some fabulous ideas.”

Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust Aaron Cummins said: “I would like to thank my colleagues and the contractors who have worked extremely hard to make this memorial statue a reality.  We will never forget what happened – we owe to those who died to continually improve in everything that we do.”

A number of local businesses provided their services for free to help install the sculpture. The lighting was provided by Lumier, and the sculpture was delivered by Steeles Removals. 

Photo: Furness College staff and students with representatives from the hospital at the new memorial sculpture at South Lakes Birth Centre

Watch the apprentices talking about the project here


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