Visitors have been adding to a flock birds that is coming to roost on the lawns of Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham. The aim is to get to 10,000.
Each bird will be a symbol of freedom and mark how communities and families pulled together in the Covid-19 crisis.
Made of wood, the birds will form a huge art installation in the shape of a giant tree on the mansion’s lawns this autumn.
The moving and thought-provoking display has been developed by Midlands-based artists Julie Edwards and Ron Thompson of Planet Art, who hope their creation will inspire local people to engage with the arts, culture and heritage on their doorstep.
“The Flock will become a piece of social history,” said Julie Edwards. “We hope people of all ages and walks of life will use the birds as messengers for their reflections on life during lockdown, and also add their thoughts on Wentworth Woodhouse.”
Birds can be decorated with words, collages and images and already a number of local schools are getting involved.
It is free to take part, but Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust hopes people who can afford to will sponsor birds for local community groups or make a donation towards the Wentworth Woodhouse Fundraising Appeal.
During Lockdown the house has been closed and the charity has been unable to generate income to help it carry on its important restoration work.
From July 20, staff and volunteers will be out in local villages and Rotherham town centre, distributing birds for members of the public to take home and decorate. Collection will also be arranged.
Visitors to the mansion’s gardens, which opened up on July 4, can take part in bird-decorating workshops outside on the lawns in family bubble shelters. Government guidelines on social distancing rules and safety will be carefully followed.
“We want everyone to join in and Fly with The Flock, “said Sarah McLeod, CEO of the Trust.
“It is going to be a stunning and emotional display marking the biggest event to impact on our lives since the Great Wars.
“We believe people will flock from far and wide to see it.”
People unable to get to the gardens or pick-up stations, can request a paper template via email to print out, decorate, and send back.
To request a bird or make a donation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or look out for distribution points in July, August and September at Elsecar Heritage Centre, Rotherham Outdoor Market, Wentworth Woodhouse, St John’s Green, Kimberworth Park; Thorpe Hesley Recreation Ground, Clifton Park, Greasbrough playing fields and Hoyland High Street.