Article excerpt

Byline: AMY HUNT

EMOTIONS felt by football fans during a nail-biting 90 minutes will be at the heart of a piece of public art.

Families were invited to sketch and then carve their interpretation of how they feel while watching their team play the beautiful game.

The creations of children and adults alike will be put together to create a sculpted stone gateway which it is hoped will help breathe new life into a popular park.

Newcastle City Council is leading an pounds 800,000 refurbishment of Harbottle Park, off Walker Road in the city. The park is being given new play equipment, lighting and a footpath as well as improvements to the football pitches used by Walker Central FC.

Local people have been helping to choose the improvements which have been made so far.

And they were offered the chance to help create the football-themed gateway for the park, one of five new entrances being designed.

Sculptor Graeme Mitcheson is one of four artists who have been commissioned to work on the park.

He came up with the idea of having two free-standing pillars featuring faces sculpted by local people to show the area's passion for football.

When looked through from east to west, the sculpture will frame a view of St James' Park.

Graeme said: "I discovered that an overwhelming number of people that I spoke to in Newcastle's East End are football crazy.

"From the children at St. Lawrence's Primary School through to the 94-year-old lady in the Chirlton Resource Centre, they all felt that an essential part of at least one of the gateways should reflect the area's passion for the North East's favourite sport.

"I felt a sculpture that could highlight the enthusiasm of the local people for football would surely be a good thing.

"What better way to bottle that passion than to capture permanently a climactic moment from a football match?" Dawn Howe, of Newcastle City Council, said: "We started with a blank sheet and everything that's gone into the park was suggested by residents. …


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