DEREK Massey, the artist who designed the proposal for The Athlete of the East – a giant figure leaping from a pommel horse, has said that if his idea is accepted, he will give his intellectual rights to Huntingdon s Olympic Gym, which has inspired the fi
DEREK Massey, the artist who designed the proposal for The Athlete of the East - a giant figure leaping from a pommel horse, has said that if his idea is accepted, he will give his intellectual rights to Huntingdon's Olympic Gym, which has inspired the figure.
He has also devised a plan to light up the figure so that at night it will appear to fly.
It would be placed in Holme Fen. The muscular body would face west across the railway line - to be seen by all the passengers travelling from King's Cross to Edinburgh - with its head facing south towards Huntingdon and London. The back of the structure would face east at sunrise.
To illuminate the figure so that the pommel horse, made of fen bog oak, would not be seen, Mr Massey has devised a lighting system of solar panels and LED lights, which would need no maintenance and would be hidden.
The figure has been inspired by Louis Smith, who at 19 was an Olympic bronze medallist on the pommel horse and who trains at Huntingdon's Olympic Gym. Mr Massey was also influenced by an ancient Greek athlete in a painting at the Minoan Palace in Crete.
Mr Massey told The Hunts Post: "Regarding the funding of the gym in Huntingdon, my wife, Jean and I think it would be in the spirit of the Olympic event to offer to the gym, a substantial proportion of any monies that become available."
He had already said that any paintings or replicas of the figure could be sold to raise funds for the gym.
The gym is now is now preparing young athletes for the 2012 London Olympics. It has plans for a £4.5million extension with a new hall, reception area and access road from Mayfield Road, Hartford. However, as reported by The Hunts Post, it has been turned down for Big Lottery funding.
Despite that, enough funding has been raised for phase one of the project (the reception area and the new road) and this is set to start in coming weeks.
Erica MacKenzie, office manager at Huntingdon Olympic Gym told The Hunts Post: "We think this plan of Derek Massey's is wonderful. It is a genius of an idea. It is something special for the arts and something special for Huntingdonshire. We can be known for our art and for our athletes. Looking towards the future, we are hoping to gain more medals at the 2012 Olympics and the Athlete of the East could help us do that."
Support for the figure has grown since The Hunts Post first published a picture of the figure last month
Among those in favour of the design are headteachers of Cambridgeshire schools including Hazel Lambert, head of Ashbeach School in Ramsey St Mary's who told The Hunts Post: "We are so excited about it. We think the figure is marvellous. I think Derek has managed to incorporate Olympic success with elements of the Fen and its situation would enable thousands of people to see it. As a school, we would be keen to support this initiative."
The money for the art work comes from the Cultural Olympiad Committee, which has £500,000 to spend in each of England's nine regions to celebrate the London 2012 Olympics.
You can support the Athlete of the East and Derek Massey's bid to create a piece of art-work which will also support Huntingdon's Olympic Gym by clicking on the Angel of the East panel on The Hunts Post website.