THE shape of things to come for Seaham’s seafront is unveiled today in the Echo.
Ray Lonsdale has put the finishing touches to World War One-inspired sculpture, 1101, which will be placed next to the Terrace Green cenotaph for three months.
The 9.5ft sculpture, fashioned from corten steel, reflects the first minute of peacetime, as a World War One soldier slumps down to contemplate the close of conflict.
The sculpture also represents what is now known as Post Traumatic Street Syndrome (PTSD) which many faced as they returned from the battlefields.
The artist’s idea was also sparked by a story told about a soldier from Murton who won a war medal.
Ray has teamed up with Seaham Town Council to organise the display of the 1.2 tonne piece, which is expected to be delivered on Thursday, May 29.
Mayor Bruce Burn will carry out a short ceremony as it is unveiled.
A larger event will be held on Monday, August 4, the 100th anniversary of when war broke out.
The display of 1101 comes after plans to exhibit The Last Cigarette of Michael Duffy last year were scuppered when the piece was bought by a private buyer.
Ray, who runs a workshop in South Hetton, said: “I started it on the first of January and finished it the other day.
“Where it will go is a nice spot, the seafront in Seaham, and it’s nice this is only going down the road.”
Paul Fletcher, deputy town clerk of the council, said he was pleased to be working with Ray again after supporting him when he launched his business by commissioning a series of benches.
He added: “It’s a fantastic piece, very emotive.
“We are trying to work with artists to bring their work to Seaham to better the tourism aspect, but at no cost to the residents.
“We feel that’s the best way to go because some big art projects get criticised, but with Seaham so much on the map these days as a tourist destination, the artists can benefit too.”
The event on Monday, August 4, will bring together the Royal British Legion, The Remember Them Fund and East Durham Artists’ Network, with a lunchtime picnic to be held and wartime songs to be performed.
The council, which is due to move from Adelaide Row to a new town hall on the edge of Seaham Town Park on Tuesday, has been backed by Seaham’s University of the Third Age in displaying Ray’s work with a donation of £50.
It is still looking for £500 to be met via sponsorship to cover the cost of transporting the work from South Hetton to Seaham.
Anyone who would like to support the effort can call the council on 0191 581 8034.