Chichester community rallies around beloved sculpture after vandals strike

An appeal for support after a city centre scultpure was vandalised has been met with vigorous support from the Chichester community.

Monday, 8th November 2021, 12:09 pm
Updated Monday, 8th November 2021, 12:10 pm

Care workers, hospital and school students showed their support by decorating pebbles which would be used to protect the keyworker sculpture in East Street.

Vandals targeted the piece in September damaging its head and legs but its creator, Singleton man John Gillespie, appealed for public support so the artwork could be filled with pebbles in order to boost its structural integrity.

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Sculptor John Gillespie with the sculpture

Support flooded in, with stones being decorated with memorials to lost loved ones and messages of support.

John said: "There are some really heartfelt ones in there as well. Memorials to people who have lost [family and friends]. Messages from schools, care assistants, hospital staff.

"It is heart-warming and heart-breaking all at the same time. Really the other side of it is, from what I can see, groups of stones donated from the same places.

"People have have been coming together in their communities.

"It is a broad range of people who have donated — It's really quite amazing.

"I just think it is brilliant. It is a great way to solve the problems that happened and it is just a great way to bring people together and we can actually do something that means something to everyone — a true Unity."

Police investigations into the vandalism of the sculpture have come to a dead-end, John said, with no CCTV coverage of the space Unity occupies.

Now John said he hopes to bring the sculpture back to East Street 'as soon as possible' but said some works still needs to be done.

He added: "I'm concerned that if I build it in the same fashion as last time then I'm not really solving anything."