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Celebrate Woking’s Willow Sculptures Project started in October 2011.
Working in partnership with local artist, Sara Holmes, the project sought
to celebrate and inspire culture and art within the Borough in the run up to the London 2012 Games.
Using the Olympic Cycle Road Races as inspiration, Sara worked with nearly
5,000 schoolchildren from 15 schools within Woking Borough to create 65
life-size willow cyclists.
The project’s finale saw the completed sculptures displayed as a peloton in Byfleet along the
Men’s and Women’s Olympic Cycle Road Races route on 28 and 29 July 2012.
The Willow Sculptures Project was awarded the prestigious Inspire Mark in
early 2012 by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), thus recognising
the project as innovative and exceptional and being directly inspired by the London 2012 Games.
Speaking about the project, Seb Coe, Chair of LOCOG, said: “We want to use
the power of the Games to inspire change. The Inspire programme is recognising the work our partners all
round the UK are doing to help us achieve this vision now. I congratulate everyone involved in Woking’s
Willow Sculptures for securing the Inspire Mark and wish you every success with your work.”
To launch Celebrate Woking’s summer of spectacular events, including the Halfords
Tour Series, Party in the Park and West Byfleet LI:VE, two of the unique willow figures were elevated
to lofty heights! Installed by a specialist abseiling team, the sculptures adorned the side of one of
Woking Town Centre’s central landmarks – the Fire Station Tower. Watch a short
video of their installation here.
Making their group debut, the complete peloton of sculptures wowed the crowds at
Party in the Park [7 July 2012]. Each creation displayed the name of the school
that created it, which provided much excitement and pride amongst local schoolchildren and their families
who visited the event.
The project’s crowning glory was the installation of all 65 individually crafted willow
sculptures along part of the Woking section of the London 2012 Olympic Cycle Road Race route on
Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 July. Visitors and spectators were able to
view the life-size peloton at the Oyster Lane roundabout, Byfleet.
Before the sculptures were returned to the schools to provide a lasting legacy of the Olympic Cycle
Road Races, the sculptures were displayed at exhibitions in Guildford and Woking.
As a lasting legacy to the Games and the project, each carefully crafted sculpture has been returned
to the participating schools and displayed for future generations to enjoy and mark the events.
Bringing the willow sculptures to life and further drawing sport and culture together, the project's
lead organisation, Woking Borough Council, has created a short film documenting the project's journey
and showcasing a range of cycling themed poetry and paintings created by schoolchildren involved in
the project. Watch the project video
To see how the sculptures were crafted, look at the gallery of images here