Sheffield children help create new sculpture park at Peak District house

A new sculpture park at a country house has been created by disadvantaged children and seniors from Sheffield estates.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 6:00 am
Children working on their sculptures at the Thornbridge Hall workshop.

The project was as result of the work of Emma Harrison CBE, the owner of Thornbridge Hall near Bakewell where the sculpture park is located, and Donna Jones MBE, Emma’s youth worker when she was a teenager.

Donna, who had been retired for 11 years and lives on the Isle of Wight, returned to Sheffield to once again work with children from the estates and present them with opportunities for creativity.

Children and senior citizens from Manor, Woodthorpe and Intake were invited to spend 12 weeks at Thornbridge Hall creating the amazing sculpture trail.

The sculpture trail was funded by the Thornbridge 4 Everyone foundation.

Emma said: “Creating something like this was seriously special.

"It has been transformative stuff for kids off the estate.

“People from all over will see their work. It is a massive opportunity, I don’t suppose they get anything like this at all, they are working in an amazing workshop.

“Every time they come they get to travel through the Peak District.”

The sculpture trail contains 122 pieces.

Emma first went to Thornbridge when she was a teenager and bought the property in 2002.

Her husband Jim founded Thornbridge Brewery on the grounds of the estate in 2005.

Through Thornbridge 4 Everyone, a foundation founded and funded by Emma, positive programmes such as the sculpture park and visits to the hall have been made available for disadvantaged children.

Emma added: “It is my legacy - Thornbridge was transformative for me. “Donna and I met again both as adults and formed a massive friendship. “We are trying to show people that they can be part of something special.”

A totem pole made from breeze blocks.

Donna had looked for established sculptors to work with but was unable to find anyone so decided to get creative herself.

Donna and Emma asked for people to bring them any interesting and unwanted items and collected them for months.

From this collection of cast-offs a trail of 112 sculptures was made including totem poles, angels, owls, sailing boats, go carts, dream catchers, huge kites, trains, fairy doors and more.

Emma said: “It would be good to inspire people all over to start making crazy sculptures in their own gardens from things they don’t know what to do with.”