The trustees of Thirsk Infant School Charity officially revealed a new artwork, to mark many years of support for the parishes of Thirsk and Sowerby.

Andrew Trueman, mayor of Thirsk unveiled the plaque to commemorate the coronation of King Charles III at the Family Life Church on Finkle Street.

It is the first time the charity has created a legacy project and fittingly chose a local artist, Heather Brown, to create the sculpture. Heather, formerly Collinson, is a former pupil of Thirsk Secondary School and created the circular sculpture using only reclaimed materials.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The sculpture incorporates pieces of scrap metal donated by the people of Thirsk and the local area in memory of their loved ones. It comprises parts from sugar beet harvesters, combine harvesters, cultivating equipment, fire irons, farrier tools, wrenches, pliers, horseshoes, nuts and bolts. The large circle is the metal ring from an old wooden cartwheel.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The unique artwork represents years of learning in the town, with the wise owl presiding over the children, starting with the establishment of the old infant school in the 1870s.

A competition was launched in 2022 in conjunction with Thirsk Library and White Rose Books, to choose a name for the sculpture, with the winner helping to unveil it and winning a £25 book token. The winners were Anya, nine, and Luca, 12, Dudaniec who chose the name of “Circle of Wisdom” for the sculpture about the school’s history and the local faming area.

The children are home educated and love natural history, history and art. The idea for the name came after family evening walks around Thirsk when they saw the statue had been installed 18 months ago at the school grounds, also formerly a library and now a church building. The family had a brainstorming session with the resulting winning title.

Sculptor Heather, formerly of Hood Grange , Sutton Bank has lived at Providence Hill, Topcliffe, for 40 years. She loves to recycle farming equipment in her works. 

She said: "One of my proudest creations is the sculpture ‘The Circle of Wisdom’. This piece serves as a visual chronicle of the profound contributions the building has made in the community of Thirsk over the centuries. Having witnessed the evolution from primary school to a library, I sought to encapsulate the essence of the transformative journey in metal and form. The sculpture unfolds as a narrative through time.

"The children and the open book at the core symbolise the building’s foundational years as a primary school where young minds first embarked on the journey of knowledge. The encompassing circle represents the far-reaching goodness that radiates from the building, touching the lives of the entire Thirsk community. Above all, the wise owl stands sentinel, embodying the enduring wisdom that the library provides and will continue to provide for generations to come."