A giant artwork, based on a classic heart image by official Tour de Yorkshire artist Mackenzie Thorpe, will greet the riders as they race to the finish of the second stage.
Organised by the artist’s Arthaus gallery in nearby Richmond, Help for Heroes, and Bedale High School, the heart will span the size of a football pitch alongside the route of the race on Friday, May 3.
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This larger than life image at Exelby Bridge will be created using trainers donated by thousands of people to create a thought-provoking piece of art as part of the Tour de Yorkshire’s Land Art competition.
At the centre of Mackenzie’s artwork will be the Help for Heroes logo and the number ‘seven’ which represents the seven people who, every day, are medically discharged from the Armed Forces.
Last year alone, up to 2,451 lives are fundamentally changed through either physical or mental issues attributable to their time in service, in the British Armed Forces.
The aim is to raise awareness of the issues that face these veterans and which can impact on them and their families for the rest of their lives, by beaming this message to millions of TV viewers in 190 countries around the world.
The project sees the Tour de Yorkshire’s official artist and official charity, Help for Heroes, working alongside Bedale High School to collect the massive amount of footwear that will be needed to create the giant image. The school pupils together with beneficiaries from Help for Heroes’ Phoenix House recovery centre which is based in Catterick Garrison will come together to help create the heart image.
Mackenzie has donated a pair of trainers and some famous names, including actors Tom Hardy and Antony Cotton and former footballers Jan Molby and John Barnes have also got involved. Now they want more from members of the public to help complete the huge picture sending their trainers to either Bedale School or Arthaus Gallery on Finkle Street, Richmond. Following the project the trainers will be auctioned or donated to raise funds for local charities.
Official Tour de Yorkshire artist for 2019, Mackenzie Thorpe said: “I’ve worked with Help for Heroes many times. I’m always in awe of the work they do for our veterans and was inspired by their campaign at the launch of this year’s Tour de Yorkshire. This land art project is a great way of raising awareness for this cause and it is fantastic to have the children from Bedale High School getting involved too. It’s going to be amazing to see one of my hearts created in large scale, and then being beamed into so many homes around the world from north Yorkshire.”
Melanie Dickinson, Help for Heroes Recovery Manager for the North added: “Whether it’s for sport or fashion, everyone wears trainers – from the schoolboy on the running track, to the soldier preparing for a long march or the commuter enjoying comfort on the long slog to work. They give our feet support for the task we want them to do – and support is what our wounded, injured and sick veterans and their families need, both now and in the future.”
Wendy Bowker from Arthaus gallery said: “Mackenzie is loved in this part of north Yorkshire and with his gallery just down the road in Richmond we wanted to highlight his links to this part of the county as the race comes to Bedale. It’s been fantastic seeing the community coming together with the support from Help for Heroes, Bedale High School to create the biggest Mackenzie Thorpe artwork yet.”
The land art project is the latest way Mackenzie is getting behind the race as it’s official artist. He has already released a stunning collection of artworks, featuring limited edition prints and canvas, the first sculpture for the race and a series of commemorative posters. You can also meet Mackenzie at Arthaus gallery from 3pm to 6pm on Friday 3 May, where the full Tour de Yorkshire collection, alongside other originals and sculptures, will be exhibited.