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PEGASUS AND THE PARATROOPER
Mark Jackson and Charlie Langton are masters of their craft. This job involved the placement of two outstanding pieces of sculpture, serving as a Memorial to the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces.
This was a difficult move to say the least; the height of the Pegasus sculpture was the first issue – however, with our expertise we decided that rotating the Pegasus through 30 degrees and having a bespoke transportation frame made solved that. Over hanging branches and low trees were another problem – but thanks to Ginger Farrar (an old friend of Mark’s) we managed to clear a 10 mile section of the route through mid Wales to see our way clear to our destination.
So much thought and preparation had gone into the project before we had even started – what could possibly go wrong! Added to the pressure was the timescale – a huge event had been arranged for the unveiling of these pieces due to be attended by HRH Prince Charles – these pieces had to go in on time.
June and July saw some of the worst rainfall in the UK for decades. The National Arboretum near Litchfield was in the thick of it. It was under 18 inches of water – with torrents running through the park on the day we arrived. The night before the installation was due to take place, the whole thing looked hopeless. The sculptor, Mark ‘Jacko’ Jackson sat on a post overlooking the park, which by now resembled a lake – the job, for him, was cancelled.
At J A Mackenzie we don’t give up so easily. I sat with my driver, Rob Langley, that night and formulated a plan – we were as confident as you could be that we could get those pieces where they were supposed to go.
The next day we met the team bright and early in the car park – the only place that wasn’t under two feet of water – and told them our plan.
We transferred the sculptures onto a smaller truck and proceeded with care through the narrow single track roads under water, a man at each corner to guide the truck through – one wrong move at this stage could mean the soft verges giving way – and the truck would be turned over – sculpture and all!
Rob drove the truck with the care and precision he always does – and after holding our breath quite a bit, we arrived at the installation site.
We needed sixteen tonnes of heavy 5m x 1m matting in order to stabilise the crane and keep it in position whilst we unloaded the sculptures. We had given up on keeping dry by now – even the carp swimming between our legs were eager to come and have a look at what was going on....!
With the help of Jacko’s fantastic team of men, Rob and I worked a long and hard day to get the final result; a magnificent tribute to the Airborne Forces to whom we owe so much.
This was a unique sculpture created for Morrison’s new supermarket in East Manchester. It was designed to represent a press previously manufactured on the same site. Made out of aluminium, it weighed 10 tonnes, was 30 feet high and 40 feet long.
It was loaded on to one of our two cranes. The sculpture was transported the four miles from Openshaw to the site on a Sunday morning at 9am, the journey taking approximately an hour. The road outside the supermarket had to be closed while the load was steered into position. A large crowd gathered to watch such an unusual delivery taking place, along with the local press.
Over a period of time, we transported about 25 of these fabricated boxes, known as Cold Boxes, from Wrexham to Acrefair, a direct journey of 4 miles.However, because of route restrictions, this often meant a trip of some 25 miles, taking 8 hours, heading out towards Whitchurch, before doubling back around Wrexham and into Air Products at Acrefair. These were usually loaded on a Friday and moved on a Saturday, the job usually taking around eight hours to complete. The boxes were manufactured on stools which enabled our trailer to be backed underneath.
The largest of these boxes was 25 feet x 25 feet and was 110 feet long and weighed 60 tonnes. The roads had to be blocked off completely ahead of the load by upto five police vehicles, and immediately ahead of our vehicle engineers from Manweb and British Telecom would have to remove overhead cables to enable the box to pass unhindered. Tree surgeons were also on hand.
Visual Media Partnership LLP
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