Harry celebrated

AN exciting new sculpture will soon be installed locally to recognise the achievements of pioneer aviator Harry Ferguson who in December 1909 was the first Irishman to design, build and fly his own aeroplane.

The overall sculpture will be half-life size and installed on the roundabout at the A1 Dual Carriageway, under the Hillsborough Fly-over.

Economic Development Committee Chairman Alderman Jim Dillon commented: “Ferguson was born an grew up just a few miles from Lisburn, in Growell, Dromore. He became one of the most outstanding engineers and inventors of the 20th century. He’s particularly famous for the iconic Ferguson Tractor which helped to revolutionise farming all over the world.”

Mr Dillon added: “However, very few people are aware of his exploits as one of the earliest pilots and makers of aircraft. This striking sculpture will be a fitting legacy to celebrate his aviation achievements, and remind the public of his historic flight near Hillsborough on December 31 1909.

“We’re delighted with the piece which is now is almost complete, and we’re confident it will become a much-enjoyed and recognised public landmark on this very busy thoroughfare.”

The sculpture is a joint venture between top Ulster sculptor John Sherlock OBE, and PF Copeland, one of Ireland’s leading metal fabricators, based in Newtownabbey.

“We were thrilled to have been awarded this prestigious commission”, commented John Sherlock, “It’s a happy coincidence that both Mark Copeland and myself are also qualified pilots, and we’re in awe of Ferguson for his amazing feat to get his creation to actually fly and land successfully.

“Our artistic concept is a combination of stainless steel and bronze. We believe it’s quite a dramatic piece, and that the public will enjoy it, and the remarkable man it celebrates.”

Mark Copeland commented: “This is an exciting and important commission for our company. It’s also been a challenging piece from a technical & structural point of view.

“We’re certain the Ferguson sculpture will be well received by the public and that Lisburn will further enhance their civic environment with this unique installation.

This project has been approved for grant investment from Lagan Rural Partnership under the Rural Development Programme