AN 80-year-old tree and a 17-year-old student are the inspirations behind a new Peace Pole erected in Dunwood Park.
Sahira Bibi’s design, carved into the trunk of an Ash tree that survived World War Two, was finally unveiled on Wednesday, October 10.
The original ceremony, scheduled for World Peace Day on September 21 was cancelled due to bad weather.
But there were only blue skies and bright sunshine to greet guests at the second time of asking.
The Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Javid Iqbal, helped Oldham Sixth Form student, Sahira, unveil the peace sculpture in front of fellow youngsters, Friends of Dunwood Park members, Shaw and Crompton Parish councillors and Oldham Council officials.
A choir from St Joseph’s School in Shaw entertained the audience after the ceremony.
In his address Cllr Iqbal said: “In a world where there are many conflicts between people, races and countries, finding peace is becoming more important to every human being.
“It was therefore decided the trunk of an ash tree that had survived the Second World War should be turned into a lasting legacy of peace.
“Parks are very important places to celebrate peace. This peace sculpture will be a visible symbol that Dunwood Park has peace.
“I hope you will enjoy this park for many years to come.”
A judging panel made up of representatives from Oldham Council, FoDP, Peace Talks Oldham, The Oldham Pledge to Peace Forum, Right Opportunities CIC – all signatories of the Pledge to Peace – picked the winning design.
Elegant Chainsaw Sculptures interpreted Sahira’s design and carried out the work.
Sahira, from Glodwick, who received a gift voucher to the value of £50 for her winning submission, admitted: “I was so surprised. I never expected to win.”
Her story board of progress was displayed inside Café Mandels, with works from other students.
Julie Birch, Course Leader for Applied Art and Design at Oldham Sixth Form, said: “Opportunities like this are invaluable for students where they can get involved in a real project and see the finished piece as well.
“I know the poignant theme of peace really appeals to the students.
“I know Sahira put a lot of thought into what the theme of peace meant to her and what the word peace meant to her.
“She wanted to concentrate on the caring and loving side of peace.
“So, we have roots growing up from the ground into the sphere at the top which is the world.
“Peace does mean a lot to our young people.
“I have been teaching for a long time and it’s not just because this is a fantastic place to work, it is also because I have been privileged to work with a lot of fantastic students.
“The experience for me has been nothing but over whelming.
“Sahira’s contribution to this project is a symbol of that for me.”
Friends of Dunwood Park acquired the tree trunk four years ago and sought ideas as to what it could be carved into.
They received suggestions ranging from famous footballers to Rapunzel!
Halfway through the process, however, the peace pledge was signed and that gave them the theme for the sculpture.