The Man on the Bench is back!
Academy students and staff support alumnus' sculpture restoration
Named ‘At the End of the Day’, the statue was created by our gifted former student Simon Law, as an art project back in 1978. He was later restored in 2016 and took pride of place on the platform in front of Irlam Station House, where he won a new audience of commuters and visitors, many keen to catch a selfie with him.
Vandalism and suffering the outdoor elements meant he had to go into storage, but local people and HDT were determined to get him back into the community where he belongs.
The target was achieved through generous donations from local people, community groups and businesses, a Crimefund Grant, local raffles (with prizes donated by local businesses), an auction for a signed Manchester United shirt and bucket collections, to name just a few.
Students and staff at Irlam and Cadishead Academy were keen to get involved through non-uniform days and different events, as well as selling items made by the students in the form of calendars and Valentines cards, etc.
Simon Law, the original artist then aged 15, was an aspiring sculptor and one of his other creations, a bust of Ena Sharples actress Violet Carson, was bought by Granada Studios. Simon, now a senior design manager for John Sisk and Son, said: “I was very pleased with the way the sculpture came out, but I never dreamt it would be around for another 40 years.
“He looked perfect at the station, like he was waiting for the next train. Passengers saw him every day. He was like a local celebrity.
“I am astounded by the work done by the Academy’s students, Hamilton Davies Trust and the wider community to raise funds to cast him in bronze and I feel humbled. He looks perfect at the station and I was very proud to sign him”.
Toni Holdsworth, Principal at Irlam and Cadishead Academy, spoke of her personal pride regarding the project and the academy’s involvement. Toni said “At the End of the Day – The Man on the Bench’ is a precious part of our school history. He was created by our former student Simon Law and for many years was a feature in our old high school. He was restored by myself way back in 1999 and placed in our school reception where he remained in pride of place. I received a personal ‘thank you’ letter from the then Head teacher Mr Lamb for the restoration project of which I still have today.
“When we moved to our new school building, the Man on the Bench was donated to the Heritage Centre at Irlam Station. I am proud to say that the Academy has worked really hard to raise money and contribute towards the bronze casting which will ensure that this amazing piece of art will be in our community for many years to come. He really has found his ‘forever home’!“.