A huge six and a half ton stone sculpture will mark the history and the future of a North Yorkshire village.

The stone is a piece of public art which is to be installed at a new housing development in Dishforth, near Thirsk. It has been carved by Yorkshire stonemason Steve Roche and is a tribute to the key role played by nearby RAF Dishforth air base during the Second World War. It’s being installed near Topcliffe Road, where 15 affordable rent and seven for shared ownership homes have been built as part of a larger estate by Stonewater and residential developer Newett Homes.

The stone depicts the ‘missing man formation’ aerial salute, with an empty space where one plane should be to symbolise the loss of people. It also includes carved maple leaves, in memory of the Canadian airmen based at Dishforth who lost their lives during the war.

Yorkshire Poet Laureate Olivia Mulligan, who was inspired by poetry workshops she held at Dishforth Village Primary and Dishforth Airfield Primary schools has written a poem based on their ideas which is etched into the stone.

Sculptor Steve said: “There is a lot of change happening to the built environment in Dishforth, so this project is an opportunity to acknowledge the past and mark a positive change for the future. The sculpture started as a rough eight-ton block of Peak Moor sandstone. It’s the biggest thing I’ve worked on and I’ve removed close to one-and-a-half tons of it by hand.

“It’s taken since the end of February to find the form in the stone, but it is now a really handsome piece. I hope the local community will come and have a look, and have a read of the poem on it, once it’s installed.”

Sarah Cook, Project Officer at Stonewater, said: “It’s been great to work on this beautiful development of much-needed affordable homes for local people in the delightful village of Dishforth. Steve’s amazing sculpture is a fitting focal point for this scheme, as an attractive piece of public art, a symbol of the airfield’s place in history and a moving tribute to those who lost their lives in wartime.”

Working in partnership with Harrogate Borough Council, the homes have been built by Newett Homes as part of a bigger 56-house development called The Meadows.

Will Newett, Director at Newett Homes, said: “We’re delighted to work in partnership with Stonewater, which allows the housing association to offer a selection of affordable rent and shared ownership homes at our development in Dishforth. The new sculpture, a beautiful and thought-provoking piece of art, will help forge a sense of pride for everyone in The Meadows community.”