Sculptor’s tribute to Tour right on the money

COPPER look at that. When it came to marking the Tour de France passing through his village, money was no object for Yorkshire sculptor Craig Dyson.

Sculptor Craig Dyson and his apprentice Wilf Henson try to shift his 'Le Grand Scupture' from their Haworth workshop

The 23-year-old, from Haworth, used more than 26,000 2p coins to create a work of art designed to provide a lasting legacy of the visit of the Grand Départ this weekend.

It has been six months in the making for Mr Dyson, who made a public appeal for tuppences to help make his design a reality.

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The overwhelming response stretched worldwide and the result – a 20ft-high spherical sculpture with coins from as far afield as Canada and China – will be on proud display outside Haworth Central Park when the county welcomes the race.

Mr Dyson said: “Being a typically proud Yorkshireman I wanted to commemorate the Tour in my own way.

“I just wanted the design to be big, bold and simplistic, but what I wanted more was to create something for Haworth that the whole community could get involved with.

“I thought, everyone’s got 2ps knocking around.”

While coins came from all corners of the globe, it was the loose change of the people of Yorkshire who provided the bulk of the materials.

One young schoolboy from the nearby village of Clayton, Bradford, took the appeal to his school. Single-handedly, the eight-year-old collected 10,000 coins.

“The stories which came from it were incredible,” continued Mr Dyson.

There were times, however, when Mr Dyson feared he may not be able to complete the sculpture in time.

“It was a massively intimidating project to undertake,” he 

“But speaking to people in the community and knowing that they were excited about it made me want to do those Saturdays and work into the night.”

The scale of the task meant the sculptor had to take on an apprentice.

He credits Wilf Henson, aged 18, also from Haworth, as playing a vital role in meeting the deadline.

The pair welded together the coins as they built the sphere around themselves, using a makeshift hatch to ensure they did not get trapped inside.

A penny farthing bike will be suspended inside the sphere when it is officially unveiled in the life-long home of the Brontë family as Stage One gets under way this Saturday.

The sphere will welcome
riders and visitors alike when
the route passes through Haworth during Stage Two on Sunday.

While cyclists taking part in the world’s biggest bike race might be too busy tackling the to cobbled terrain and historic climb up Haworth’s iconic Main Street to pay much attention to the sphere, turning the heads of sporting stars was never the aim of the project.

Mr Dyson said: “This was about creating a lasting memory for Haworth.”

So far, the sculpture has cost Mr Dyson £8,000 from his own pocket.

Mr Dyson hopes to sell it back to the people of Haworth so that it becomes a community-owned piece of art on permanent display.

He said: “A lot of pieces of public art are owned by councils or arts organisations. I don’t want that – I can’t when people have handed over their 2ps.

“It was a unique way of creating a sculpture and it should belong to everyone.

“The Tour and everything it stands for is fantastic but we need to sustain why it came to Yorkshire and why everyone should feel proud of it.”

And Haworth is not the only place where excitement for the Tour is reaching its height.

Brian Robinson, the first Briton to win a Tour de France stage, took to two wheels to celebrate the completion of a new National Cycle Network route in Castleford.

It was just like riding a bike for the 83-year-old Huddersfield hero, as he celebrated the network – a series of safe, traffic-free lanes and quiet on-road routes – passing the 1,000-mile mark in Yorkshire.