Welder reveals “inspirational” sculpture for frontline workers crafted from handmade keys


STUNNING photos and video show how a welder used hand-engraved keys to create an “inspirational” sculpture in honour of frontline workers.

John Gillespie from Chicester, West Sussex produced the work, titled Unity, in his back garden using stainless steel.

The three metre long sculpture features keys engraved with essential worker roles such as “Healthcare Assistant”, “Butcher” and “Therapist” which make up the figure of a nurse.

The 41-year-old, who normally produces parts for luxury yachts, shared photos of the almost finished product on social media on Sunday where it has earned legions of fans.

He also posted a video showing the statue sat in the “glorious Sussex sunshine” where he explained the work was for “all the key workers that served throughout Covid-19”.

Images show Unity, which is composed of a sculpture of a nurse sat on a bench with her head in her hand.

John says the nurse’s pose is designed to reflect the stress that key workers are currently under.

Another photo shows John sat at the other end of the sculpture, 2m away, in a nod to social distancing.

John took to Facebook to share his work, posting photos of Unity with the caption: “Update on my shed project, “unity”.

“I’ve managed to get most of her together now. The bench is assembled but still needs welding and I’ve lots of little bits to still do.

“Well done to all our key workers it’s your unity that is helping us through this.”

John’s post, which racked up more than 9,000 likes, has blown away social media users.
Julie Warren wrote: “Love your work so inspiring! What a talent you have.”

Carmel Smyth added: “That is just so beautiful.”

And Lynda Higgs said: “Wow, absolutely amazing.”

Speaking today, John confirmed he plans to display the sculpture before eventually donating it.

He explained how he made the statue over 300 hours, saying: “The sculpture is handmade in the shed using hammers, anvil and various hand held blocks to shape.

“The keys are stamped with as many key roles that I can think of and from many suggestions that we have received from the length and width of the country through our Facebook page.

“I was inspired by the struggle of so many over this period, it’s an achievement in its own right.

“The response has been phenomenal, emotional, heartfelt and moving.

“The messages from so many people have been very touching.”