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Huge war sculpture in need of a home
ANYONE for a cigarette?
This statue, titled The Last Cigarette of Michael Duffy, needs a good home.
Sculptor Ray Lonsdale created the 15ft-tall weathered steel statue as a tribute to the ordinary soldiers of the First World War, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of conflict.
He eventually hopes to sell it for £85,000 plus VAT.
But before that, Mr Lonsdale is offering it out on free loan.
“I did the sculpture because I wanted to do it. I’d wanted to do it for a while,” he said.
“I had sponsorship from The Artsbank (in Saltburn) but I didn’t have a buyer.
“I’d like to see it at prominent sites with high footfall.
“I would like to see it stay in its home county, but it’s also about all the soldiers who went out there.”
The sculpture is inspired by clay-kicker Private Michael Duffy, of the Durham Light Infantry, who helped lay explosives beneath German lines.
HOME NEEDED: Ray Lonsdale with his sculpture of the soldier
Pte Duffy died along with 10,000 others in a German counter-attack, after one of the biggest explosions of the entire conflict – on the Messines Ridge on June 7, 1917. He was 19.
The blast was so loud it was heard in London.
Mr Lonsdale learned of Pte Duffy through Peter Duffy, whose father was the young soldier’s cousin.
The statue is made of carten steel, the same material as the Angel of the North.
Mr Lonsdale said: “I’m pleased with it.”
The base bears a poem: “He put his back to the wind. Felt the mud at his feet. Had a vision of himself as a boy in the street.,,, And he knew.
“He lit up a tab. Turned his face to the smoke. Searched the box in his head where he kept his hope. But he knew.
“He saw the check of the watch. Saw the solemn nod. Saw the whistle raised. Heard the pleas to God. Then it blew.”
To contact Mr Lonsdale, of Two Red Rubber Things, in South Hetton, east Durham, about taking The Last Cigarette of Michael Duffy on loan, call 07708-458293 or email: email@example.com