Memories of Wakefield Panel

This panel was created by a group of 15 carvers.

A Panel was carved by carvers mainly from the West Riding Woodcarvers' Association for the millennium and installed at the Kirkwood Hospice, Huddersfield. The Manager at Kirkwood Hospice found that the Panel created a talking point with patients and relatives and helped them to talk at a time when they are in need.

Having heard about this, the staff at Wakefield Hospice asked if it would be possible for a similar Panel be made for them. In view of the pleasure and benefits derived from the Kirkwood Panel, it was decided to try and provide a similar carving for Wakefield Hospice. So another group of 15 carvers, known as the Oakwood Woodcarvers, including some from the West Riding Woodcarvers' Association, got together, planned and completed a panel.

The idea for the panel was first considered on 8 November 1999 and the final panel was installed in the Wakefield Hospice on 9 December 2000. Unusually, it is of an elliptical shape.


Click on the Gallery button in the menu to see photographs of the carvings.

1 Off Chald Lane Alan Brook
2 Greens Foundry Mike Chambers
3 Sandal Tram Terminus Bryan Hodgson
4 Six Chimneys Don Dickinson
5 Cathedral Trevor Metcalfe
6 Wakefield Mining Museum Ray Jewson
7 Aqueduct Terry Thorley-Lawson
8 Wakefield Hospice Alan Brook
9 Chantry Chapel Maurice Oldale
10 Hospice Logo Derek Leather/Trevor Metcalfe
11 Boat House Jeff Blakeley
12 Wakefield Coat of Arms Trevor Metcalfe
13 Rugby Scene Trevor Metcalfe
14 Wind Surfing/Sandal Castle Eric Shepherd/Terry Thorley-Lawson
15 Crown Yard & Silver Street Dennis Farmer
16 Farming Scene Terry Thorley-Lawson
17 Westgate Railway Station Jeff Blakely
18 Blacksmiths Shop Maurice Oldale
19 Thornes Wharf Jim Wrathall

Here is a copy of the speech by Terry Thorley-Lawson made on the presentation of the Panel at Ossett Community Centre, outling the highlights of the carving.

I would like to thank you all personally for your friendship during the past year.

As you all know, the name of our Panel is Memories of Wakefield 2000AD, but for us, as a group, it means far more than that. The memories that we have shared in preparing this carving over the past year are priceless, and I thought that it might be interesting to highlight the major happenings over that period.

8 November 1999

Idea first suggested. At that time there were 11 people interested in giving it a go, but 2 people changed their minds. So then there were 9!

At this time we were unsure what "it" might be, and we had several unanswered questions to ask ourselves before we could seriously think of going ahead, like:

How big? What shape? What subject matter? What materials would we use? How much would it cost? How would we raise funds? What would be the target for completion? Have we sufficient volunteers?

The list was quite extensive but these were the major points. Probably the most important was: How were we going to fund the exercise?

The following week there were still a lot of unanswered questions, but Maurice came with a cutting out of the local rag advertising the fact that the Wakefield MDC were prepared to sponsor millennium projects. Quite suddenly our project became not only a hospice carving but also a Millennium project - I wonder why? And at that stage we wondered if we could manage to complete our project within the millennium year.

A steering group was established comprising Don, Maurice, Bryan and myself, and Ray was enlisted to administer our accounts. We agreed to get together and try to move things forward.

After careful consideration an application to WMDC was put together hopefully saying all the right things in the right places. At this stage there was no positive "Let's Go!", but we were talking shape and content and this is when we decided on scenes of Wakefield.

17 November 1999 saw us meeting with hospice representatives at the hospice to try and agree on a possible plan. At this meeting Bryan said, and I quote, "You know I think an ellipse would be a good shape". Little did we appreciate the complications of fitting pictures into an elliptical shape. But we agreed that, if Bryan could do an elliptical surround, we would have a go at designing and carving something to fit it. So like lambs to the slaughter we all agreed to take up the challenge.

So design work progressed with all sorts of explorations into books about Wakefield. Thanks go to people who loaned us their books. Amongst this research work, Don and I spent a half day at Normanton Brickworks trying to get information together so that brick manufacturing could be shown - but this was finally rejected mainly due to size. Another idea into the already sizeable discard pile!

Mike in the meantime was redesigning drawings for smithy and rugby scenes.

Then, of course, we cannot pass without a mention of our Balsa wood deal. We thought we were home and dry with the purchase of lime wood, having passed the careful eye of not only some of our group but also Earnshaws Wood yard. It wasn't until Jeff's pals were doing some planing that it was noticed that this lime was rather lighter than anything we had seen before.

It was at this stage when we realised that we were short of staff and Norman, Jim and Dennis were recruited. Norman said he wouldn't have time to do a carving but would be able to carve the lettering, which was good news and quite a relief because that was one thing less to worry about.

As our meetings progressed, the design would change shape every month and sometimes as much as a dozen times in one evening, as everyone had to have their say. We began to think that we might never reach a final decision, but eventually a final layout was agreed.

Carvings were then selected by members but I think, in actual fact, the Cathedral was the one which chose its own carver.

24 March 2000 - Our coffee morning together with a drawing of our intent. With a lot of help and support on that day we raised nearly ?300. It was then that members received wood and pcitures and it was really the first time we were able to say "Let's go for it!".

At one of our meetings, when we were all looking satisfied with our carving to date, in walked Trevor with his Smiley Bag, out of which came a finished Cathedral carving. I must say, that set the standard for the work ahead.

The rest is history, but there were certain memorable quotes made during this time. Here are but a few:


When we were a little short-handed - "I will do 2 if one's a little un" - Maurice Oldale. This 'little un' became a Blacksmith's Shop!

Having said he didn't think he was up for it, Ray said "I will do one if it's a little 'un". This grew from being an old miner with a cap on to being a full blown mine!

Sorry, Chaps, there doesn't seem to be such a thing as a little un in Oakwood Woodcarvers.

When Jim approached to assist us in our time of need, his comment was "I will do a carving but I would like it to be an interesting one". He was promptly dealt a drawing of brick manufacturing with numerous cogs and complicated machinery, which perhaps was lucky for Jim when it was found to be too big to fit into the surround!

"Go deeper!" was the cry. Need I say who and need I say more - It's that Metcalfe kid again!

Most of us, most of the time: "I seem to be struggling with this bit".

If I've missed anything out, please forgive me, but you can have your say in a minute, but now I would like to call on Don to give a vote of thanks.