PM Training’s Artworks service works with internationally renowned artist Andy Edwards
Sculptor Andy Edwards, has created a 12ft bumble bee from his studio at PM Training where he mentors a team of apprentices.
Blurton-born Andy, famous for The Beatles at the Waterfront in Liverpool, and the Christmas Truce statue in Belgium, has completed a steel commission for Newcastle Borough Council as part of the authority’s annual Britain in Bloom entry.
It has taken two months to create the sculpture, which was installed at the Knutton Lane roundabout in Newcastle in time for the judges’ visit.
Andy said: “The bee fits with this year’s theme, Supporting Newcastle’s Bloomin’ Wildlife. It will educate people about the importance of bees and their place in the ecosystem.
“Being the resident artist at PM Training, and having my studio here gives me a chance to share my knowledge with the next generation of apprentices.
“It’s a collaborative team effort, we all came up with the concept and design of the bee. The apprentices get involved and share their thoughts and ideas on how each part might work.
“Newcastle borough is packed with green space and each roundabout project has been about the re-wilding of nature in the area. We want to get the message out there that we need to re-establish the bee in Newcastle-under-Lyme.”
The bee is made from 2mm thick, mild steel, galvanised before installation. It has a 14ft wing span and sits on a 12ft high dandelion.
It is part of a series of artworks created by Andy and PM Training’s engineering apprentices to highlight native species. In 2016 a buzzard was installed at the Midway roundabout and a trout was created for the Jubilee roundabout in 2015.
Newcastle Borough Council has won 15 consecutive gold medals in the Britain in Bloom competition.
Due to this successful run, the borough is not only entering the 2017 regional competition, but also taking part in the national contest, representing the ‘Heart of England’ in the small city category.
Phil Brown, Artworks manager at PM Training, said: “To me and Andy, these projects are important because of the skills we share with the young people.
“There are two apprentices working on the bee sculpture, and they get the experience needed to move into jobs and careers in engineering.
“Projects like the bee will be there for a very long time, it is something to be proud of, and it will become a focal point in the town.”
Apprentice Liam Robinson, aged 16, from Tunstall, said: “I joined PM Training five months ago and I never imagined I would be working on something like this.
“Working with Andy and Phil is fantastic, we’re a real team. I’ve created part of the bee’s head myself and it’s great to be able to say that.”