THE original artist behind Northwich’s iconic ball sculpture says that he is keen to thank the person who came up with the idea to paint it in rainbow colours.

Anthony Holland designed and created the sculpture located near Memorial Court almost 50 years ago while a student at Cheshire School of Art and Design.

After originally being blue in colour, the sculpture was refurbished by the council in 2008 and painted gold to celebrate Olympic hero Matthew Langridge winning a gold medal in rowing at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The sculpture has recently undergone another colour change however, sporting a rainbow design in tribute to our inspirational NHS workers fighting coronavirus on the frontline.

And Anthony believes that the design is an inspired way to thank them.

“I live in Market Drayton in Shropshire now, so I’ve not had chance to come up and see the sculpture itself, but I’ve seen pictures of it painted in rainbow colours and it looks great,” said the 66-year-old.

“I would love to know who suggested the idea of painting the sculpture like a rainbow so I can thank them.

“It looks great and hopefully we can get a picture next to it when everything returns to normal.”

There have been calls from residents including Witton councillor Sam Naylor to possibly paint the sculpture again in the future to mark local and national events.

In fact, Anthony and Cllr Naylor both attended primary school together in Davenham, and possibly repainting the sculpture again is something that they both agree on.

“It depends on what the circumstances are, but if can evolve then I would say yes,” Anthony continued.

“If it is something that is good for the wellbeing of the town then I’d be happy with it, as I want it to brighten the lives of people who see it.”

Northwich Guardian:

Northwich Town Council gardener Pete Glover gives the sculpture a gold finish to commemorate Matthew Langridge winning gold in rowing at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Anthony designed the sculpture as a 19-year-old back in 1972, and until recently, the idea behind it remained a mystery.

Speaking about its creation, Anthony said: “As part of an art project we had to do, we were given free reign and I decided I wanted to do a public sculpture.

“It has nothing to do with Northwich’s salt heritage as some people seem to think, as it is loosely based on planets and the solar system.

“That is why it was originally coloured blue and going from dark to light.

“I paid for it with own money with help of my parents, so no public money was used.

“I designed it to be virtually indestructible using concrete, so that if a car crashed into it or someone hit it with a hammer, they would come off worse.”

Anthony’s parents were originally from Liverpool, but moved to Winsford when his father got job working for ICI in the early 60s.

The family then moved to Leftwich, where Anthony attended Sir John Deane’s Grammar School, before setting up the photography department at Newcastle-under-Lyme College and working for the town’s museum and council as a graphic designer before retiring.

Reflecting on the sculpture now, Anthony added: “I can’t quite believe how long it has lasted.

“In the beginning when it was first erected, it was actually voted as Northwich’s second biggest eyesore.

“It’s taken a life of its own since then and become part of the local landscape.

“I can’t believe it is still there over 45 years later.”