Chichester sculptor's plea to residents after vandals target tribute to key workers

The man behind East Street's steel homage to the heroic efforts of key workers has appealed for public support after vandals caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to his work.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 3:24 pm

As a tribute to the heroes of the pandemic, and as a gift to Chichester, Sidlesham steel worker John Gillespie created a statue of a woman sitting on a bench, engraved with the jobs titles of key workers.

Having begun the work in March 2020, John's work titled 'Unity', was given permission to be placed in East Street the following year and has become a familiar site for shoppers and residents alike.

Chichester residents react to 'amazing' new East Street installationBut after vandals targeted the sculpture, causing £5,000 worth of damage, John has announced it will have to be temporarily removed and has appealed for the generosity of Chichester residents.

John Gillespie with the sculpture

John Gillespie said: "It is with great sadness that I will have to temporarily remove the keyworker sculpture on East Street due to vandalism. The damage caused is significant and totals about £5,000.

"To prevent further incidents of vandalism I have decided to fill her up with stone. I would like Chichester residents and keyworkers to grab a stone from your garden about the size of a golf ball and write or paint your name and role and drop it into one of the collection points.

"I will, with the help of Chichester district scouting, arrange and fill the sculpture with as many stones as we can fit.

"Once filled she will become a solid unified memorial to all in the community that helped make a difference when it mattered.

Police investigate 'violent' vandalism of beloved Chichester sculpture"Thank you for all your support and sacrifices through all the difficult times.

"I would like to thank all the companies that have kindly helped and continue to help free-of-charge — without you Unity would not be. I greatly appreciate it. No public funds have been used in this project at any points as such this help has been invaluable.

Anyone looking to help bring Unity back to East Street can drop off painted stones to 5th Chichester Scout Hut, Whyke Road, Chichester PO19 8HS or 12th Chichester Scout Hut, Sherborne Road PO19 3AB.