“Do you support the proposal to have a Sculpture of Valegro in Newent Town Centre”? This was the question the Newent Initiative Trust posed in its public consultation questionnaire to Newent residents and worldwide Valegro enthusiasts alike and it transpired that over 93% of people responding were in favour of the Sculpture. With public consultation complete the Trust have been able to brief Newent Town Council on the positive progress with the campaign. While fundraising continues through the sale of prints and donations the Trust remains keen to hear from serious sponsors and Valegro enthusiasts alike who would like to invest in one of twelve limited edition maquettes, the original of which is well under way with chosen artist Georgie Welch. The campaigns aim remains to have the sculpture in place in Newent to coincide with the 2020 FEI Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Young Riders and Juniors at Hartpury University.
In order to gain feedback from the broadest spectrum of people the Trust chose to run both on-line and face to face consultation. The latter culminated with Trust Chairman Keith Urch being on hand in Newent Library for two days to answer the publics’ questions and tell them about the campaign. There were three questions and a request for the public to provide feedback. The results were as follows:
“Do you support the proposal to have a sculpture of Valegro in Newent Town Centre?” 93% in favour.
Do you think the Sculpture will increase the appeal of the Town Centre?” 91% said yes.
“Do you think the Sculpture will help to boost the economics of the Town?” 86% said yes.
The public consultation provided the chance for an outpouring of love and respect for Valegro and recognition of his achievements. “Valegro is the horse of a lifetime and should be honoured for his success” said one respondent; “having a sculpture of Valegro will increase popularity in the town and how many people visit” said another. And while there was a small number of comments opposed to the proposal the overwhelming majority saw the sculpture as “a wonderful addition to the town”.
Following the completion of the consultation the Trust have been able to bring Newent Town Council up to date with the consultation results and progress with the project in general. The presentation, led by committee member Jemima Parry-Jones, was well received by the Council who were interested to hear the plans for design and location and what the sculpture could do to make Newent a “destination town”.
Promotion and Fund Raising
The committee have been busy keeping the sculpture in the public mind and were particularly thankful to Horse and Hound Magazine for a mention and to Nicky Price of Radio Gloucestershire who gave the project an eight minute slot on her afternoon show on the station. Support for the campaign continues to pour in from around the world and from within the county with Charles Martell, High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, noting “It says something of the qualities of Valegro that he could inspire us humans to erect a statue of him during his lifetime. That same quality is reflected in the magnificent bronze image Georgie Welch is developing.”
The vital fund raising continues with copies of the artist’s design drawings, signed by Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin and Georgie Welch available to buy via the NewentValegroSculpture website. There are now eight designs to choose from. The committee are also looking for significant players, in the equestrian world or in the world of Newent, to come forward and either commission a maquette or provide substantial sponsorship in return for some form of recognition in the final design.
The maquettes will be approximately 12 inches high (1/6th life-size) and will be used to illustrate the design of the half-life sculpture in which Valegro will appear unmounted, in his tack and performing piaffe. There will be a limited edition of just 12 maquettes produced in bronze. The maquettes are expected to be a highly sought after beautiful memento of Valegro’s achievements and would be purchasers are advised to express interest now in order to avoid disappointment later.
Progress and Goals
Work on the original maquette is well underway with Georgie Welch spending many hours studying, measuring and analysing Valegro being ridden, on video, in photographs and in his stable to painstakingly build up the muscle structure of this inspirational horse. Once the original maquette is complete it will be used to produce the mould for the twelve commercial maquettes and to provide the design of the final sculpture.
With the distinctive Valegro physique emerging as the original maquette develops Georgie was asked if he was a 2012 Valegro or a 2016 Valegro? Georgie responded that she’s using reference from 2012 and 2016 so she’d say “‘the best of both’!” adding “he put his heart into every performance so it is hard to judge”.
Although the pace of the project is set by the income from the fund raising the committee have set themselves the target of having the sculpture in place for 2020 in order to provide a visitor attraction for Newent to the equestrian audience who will be in the county for the FEI Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Young Riders and Juniors which are being held at Hartpury University in the summer of 2020.
For more information please visit www.newentvalegrosculpture.co.uk