Full-size cardboard model of Stephenson’s Rocket to be created on Sunderland riverside

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AN arts project to create an almost full-size cardboard model of one of the world’s first locomotives is on track.

Artist Will Alexander is constructing a copy of George Stephenson’s Rocket in a unit at the Business Innovation Centre (BIC), Hylton Riverside – and is hoping interested Wearsiders will get involved in adding a carriage to the locomotive.

“I’ll be making the Rocket, but I’d love to see Sunderland people come down here to help me make the carriage out of cardboard,” said Will.

The artwork is part of the Street Art Heroes project, being run by artist and curator Garry Hunter on behalf of The Cultural Spring, a three-year Arts Council-funded project aiming to increase arts participation in 10 wards in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

Will has plenty of experience in creating huge cardboard models – he recently made an ice cream van out of cardboard, and then sold cardboard ice creams from the moveable structure.

He’s also made a subway train and a full-size tram which went on to rail tracks in Zurich.

“We had great fun with the cardboard ice cream van, and took it to Edinburgh, London and New York. It’s about people reconnecting with the wonder of childhood, and it’s the same with the Rocket too,” explained Will, who is also a painter and sculptor.

It is hoped that once complete, the three-quarter size model will be put on show at the Monkwearmouth Station Museum.

It will take Will two weeks to complete the Rocket, which will then be unveiled at the BIC on Friday, November 28.

The Cultural Spring is working in the following 10 wards: Castletown, Red House, Southwick, Fulwell and Roker/St Peter’s wards in Sunderland, and Biddick Hall and All Saints, Boldon, Cleadon, Whitburn/Marsden and Whiteleas in South Tyneside.

•Those who want to help make a cardboard carriage are invited to the session tomorrow at Unit 28 of the BIC, between 11am and 4pm. All are welcome, although anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.