A stunning sculpture created by a renowned artist has been unveiled to mark Mercia Marina’s 10th anniversary.

Simon Gudgeon’s Bird of Happiness stands at over 7ft tall, weighs around 400 kg, is cast in bronze and has taken pride of place outside the Bluebird Gallery at the marina in Willington.

Mr Gudgeon is best known for his 10ft bronze Isis sculpture, which was the first piece of public sculpture to be placed in London’s Hyde Park for more than 50 years.

It was this sculpture that inspired marina partner John Thornton to source one of Mr Gudgeon’s pieces for the marina.

Mr Thornton said: “We wanted a permanent marker of the marina’s foundation and a sculpture seemed very appropriate. Because of the abundant wildfowl at the marina we thought that a water bird would be very appropriate and because of the scale of the marina and the large and high buildings in the Boardwalk and Piazza it needed to be high to be noticed.

“We saw Simon Gudgeon’s Isis when walking in Hyde Park. We very much liked his smooth, minimalist and imaginative style and thought that this would be very appropriate at the marina.”

The sculpture was unveiled as part of spectacular celebrations held to mark the marina’s 10-year anniversary, which were attended by thousands of people.

Mr Thornton said he was thrilled to finally see the sculpture in place at the marina.

He said: “We much admired Simon’s designs for the Bird of Happiness and even the name seemed appropriate as since the beginning we have wanted the marina to be a place that would be enjoyed by all; boaters, lodge owners, shoppers, people working here and the very many people who visit us.

“When we saw the sculpture in place we were delighted both by the work itself and the way it fitted in without being dominated by its surroundings.”

Mr Gudgeon said he was delighted to see his sculpture unveiled at the marina.

He said: “John came to visit me in Dorset and he saw the ‘Bird of Happiness’ sculpture and that was the one he liked. It is based on a crane and a flower from South Africa and is cast in bronze. When I saw it in place at the marina I thought it looked lovely, very nice.”


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