Uri Geller's monster gorilla arriving in Sonning
PUBLISHED: 15:14 22 May 2014 | UPDATED: 15:14 22 May 2014
Statue made from 40,000 spoons to arrive at Sonning home on May 28
The 13ft-high has taken almost five months to build at the British Ironworks Centre in Oswestry and is to be transported to Uri’s home in Berkshire by the producers of a new Channel 4 reality TV programme called ‘Transport Wars’.
The spoons have been donated from across the world, as well as locally by generous schoolchildren and families. Many of the spoons have been sent from as far away as China, India, Kenya, Tahiti, Armenia and New York.
Challenged by Uri Geller to create a magnificent sculpture from spoons, Clive Knowles, managing director of the British Ironworks Centre, said the gorilla had been built for the nation and funded entirely by the firm.
Mr Knowles added that he was hoping the statue would ultimately live somewhere more accessible to the public and that the firm was in contact with Great Ormond Street Hospital or Alder Hey Hospital as possible locations, while Uri Geller has suggested Leicester Square or possibly London Zoo.
Speaking at the unveiling, in front of a large crowd, Mr Geller described the statue as “an amazing piece of art”. He said: “There’s nothing else like it anywhere in the world, it will amaze sick children.”
He added: “It has been an amazing day and The British Ironwork Centre has made the impossible possible.”
Prince Michael of Kent, who was the Centre’s honoured guest, commented: “What a wonderful sculpture. I never imagined this could be done, The British Ironwork Centre are a credit to the country.”
Sculptor Alfie Bradley, who has hand-welded every spoon to the statue, said he had been amazed at how the appeal for cutlery had taken off on social media: “Initially we thought we only needed 5,000 spoons, but it’s incredibly hard to calculate and it turned out we actually needed more than 40,000 to finish the project.
“It’s been a real challenge. The spoons have been different sizes, different metals but I have an immense appetite for creativity.” He said the project had given him sleepless nights and admitted: “Now just the word ‘spoon’ is enough to drive me crazy.”
Due to the number of spoons donated by schoolchildren across the world, he said he had come to think of the statue as ‘a protector of children’.
Thanks to the generosity of families and fans far and wide, the Centre also has a number of spoons left over which will be utilised for future charitable projects. The British Ironwork Centre would like to thank Woodside Primary school for their incredible donation of nearly 1,000 spoons The local primary school has won the collection competition and has now been presented with the giant spoon in commemoration of their much appreciated efforts.
So what comes next? Ironwork Centre plans new big project
The Centre is looking to go one step further with the next project, by vcreating not just art but something that will help to save lives.
Clive Knowles said: “We want to construct an enormous angel estimated to be 18 to 24 ft tall that would represent love, hope and honour people that have lost their lives to knife and street crime.”
They are planning to launch their “Save a life, surrender your Knife” appeal and admitted finding a large number of weapons would be their biggest challenge yet.
Mr Knowles added that it could help to ‘re-energise’ a number of knife surrender campaigns organised by police forces across the country. He said building the gorilla had been a ‘rollercoaster ride’ and had given them “a huge appetite” to take on another challenge.
Alfie Bradley, who welded the 40,000 spoons to the sculpture, said he was also looking forward to the next big project, though he hoped it wouldn’t involve spoons of any kind.