Keith Barrow - Head of Shropshire County Council
Councillor Barrow became Leader of the newly formed unitary authority of Shropshire Council in 2009. Prior to this, Councillor Barrow was portfolio holder for Development at Oswestry Borough Council from 2007 to 2009 and a member of Oswestry Town Council from 2005 to 2009.
Vince Hunt - Shropshire County Councillor
I was delighted to be asked to lead on this project, it is something that makes me smile, and I know it will others. It has brought out of me a creative side that I never knew I had, in fact I have had more ideas on this than anything else I have worked on, so apologies Clive and team!
It is fun, and it is inspiring, I am convinced that it will excite the residents and visitors alike.
I can’t wait for the pieces to start going in, creating the Oswestry Urban Safari Trail, and I for one with my three children will enjoy following it for years to come, and who knows maybe their children will to!
Joy Durrant - Community Arts & Festivals Development Officer for Shropshire Council
Clive Knowles - Managing Director of British Ironwork Centre
I was approached by Keith Barrow (Head of Shropshire Council) with the dilemma of falling visitor numbers visiting Oswestry and the idea of creating a visitor attraction in the form of a nature trail to draw greater numbers of shoppers/visitors into the town, especially in areas and streets where retailers were most concerned over footfall.
His vision, was to utilise some of our more exotic sculptors, and to create a walking Safari Trail, that could be routed around the town, leaning more towards the streets where retailers were suffering.
His imagination and enthusiasm was infectious and we all found ourselves captivated by the prospect of helping our council and local community, as well as doing something really worthwhile for our town. Having never been involved, in anything similar previously, it did take a little while to realize the extent of the hurdles and practical issues lying ahead, which would need to be addressed.
Whilst we already possessed a lot of statuary, we immediately embarked upon increasing the variety and the choice, with which to facilitate such a large project. During this time, we were introduced to Keith’s team, that would help coordinate and plan the siting and locations for the chosen statues. These meetings highlighted many issues, ranging from health and safety to involving the wider community and gaining a sense of community spirit, harnessing help from anyone willing to add their weight and effort in seeing the trail succeed.
After some months in the planning and a steep learning curve concerning local politics, to the practicalities of keeping iron sculptures in public areas, we are now on the verge of installing several statues, both to test the theory and to learn more, before adding greater numbers to the town.
Of course Vandalism is a great concern, with public safety of equal importance, all huge issues, that have to be thought about carefully and addressed in detail. The council are overseeing public liability and insurance, whilst I have said any statue repairs or maintenance will be done here.
My only disappointment during this experience, is to understand, that whilst I myself have only the very best interests for the community and the town at heart, there does exist, quite probably in every community, a very few individuals, that can only heckle from the shadows and do nothing to add anything positive to their community. It is my hope that the positivity felt in the hearts and minds of those that have stepped up to give freely of their time and effort and take part, will far outweigh any scepticism felt by this minority, and will eventually prove to be a worthwhile asset for our beautifully historic town.
As this is an on-going project, that will be added to and refreshed routinely, we have no deadline or date for completion, however I do hope that with Statuary arriving from all over the globe regularly, we will be able to ensure, its continually developed and gains regular publicity, highlighting Oswestry as a destination.
Ben Knowles - Operations Director
I look after the educational element of the Safari Trail. Everything from visiting the local schools and judging art competitions, right through to the planning and implementation of our work experience and young enterprise program.
Jeremy Schrecker - Sculpture
I’ve offered my support to the Oswestry Safari Trail, it’s a really lovely idea and i’m a great advocate of encouraging public art, in all it’s forms.
While I’ve arranged to minimise my costs dramatically in support of this new venture, I will ensure that anything I’m involved with still reflects my unsung passion for art and attention to detail.
Presently i’m working on the giraffes that are going to be located in Cae Glas Park.
I run courses for:
- Clay plaster molding
- Wood carving
For my information please visit my website.
Douglas Robb - Head Teacher of Oswestry School
Originally from the Wirral, Douglas Robb was educated at Birkenhead School, followed by Edinburgh University and Cambridge University. He is now the Head teacher of the wonderful Oswestry School.
He will be working closely with the Oswestry Safari Trail as one of our centre piece sculpture will be located on Oswestry SchoolG grounds.
Kate Macdonald - Graduate of Development Management for Shropshire Council
I have been working on Oswestry Safari Trail as part of my project work through the Shropshire Council Graduate Scheme. I have assisted the British Ironwork Centre in implementing the safari trail in Oswestry in order to boost awareness of independent retail outlets in the town centre.
Rachel Wildman - Copywriter and Head of Social Media
I am responsible for creating interesting and factual wording for the safari site.
Along with this I maintain our social media pages, making sure fans of the safari are kept up to date with competitions and fun facts about our animals!
Tim Mitchell - Photographer
I have over 25 years photography experience, I have covered many areas of photography over the years, including Wildlife, Sport, Male and female model portfolios, Family portraits, Weddings and so on. In the past I have taught night classes for photography in schools local to my studio in Oswestry.
In the last 2 years I focused more on product photography and started working alongside BCMW early 2012 , producing all their product images for their websites and printed brochures ect, Also I now produce product videos for BCMW as well as promotional videos. I was asked By Clive at the British Ironwork Centre, if I would Judge there Oswestry safari competition, I jumped at the chance, and it will be great to get talking and meeting people in our local area.