Pochin wins dragon sculpture contract

Pochin Construction has been appointed to build a 25-metre dragon sculpture to sit on a new 40-metre high tower overlooking Wrexham.

Known as the Waking the Dragon project, every penny raised from patrons of the tower will be donated to the Frank Wingett Cancer Appeal, a local charity now in its thirtieth year of raising awareness of cancer.

The idea for the sculpture came from local businessman and entrepreneur Simon Wingett, who is the youngest son of the late Frank Wingett.

Wingett said: "Pochin is a well-respected name in construction and one that we are confident will deliver on time and to budget. The idea behind the 'Waking the Dragon' project is two-fold: to create a cultural icon for North Wales and to help raise funds and awareness for a charity which is extremely close to our hearts."

Jonathan Pochin, managing director of Pochin Construction, added: "Having already been involved in the construction of Welsh Assembly Government's regional office, one of Wales' iconic schemes, it seems almost fitting that we should be involved in another, which will attract interest from far and wide. We will be commencing construction in autumn 2010, with completion of the dragon due in late 2011."

The area immediately around the tower will depict the four branches of the Mabinogion, a collection of eleven prose stories collated from Welsh tales drawing on folklore, with the tower itself being at the centre of a circle of stones depicting mabinogion characters.

Visitors will enter at the base of the tower where there will be interactive displays and an opportunity to learn more about Welsh culture. A staircase consisting of 206 steps set within the tower and glass lifts will also feature.

There will be a viewing gallery at the top which will allow visitors to stand beneath the dragon and take in the views of Wales.

Adjacent to the tower will be an art cultural centre. Plans are set for the centre to include an art gallery, 100-seat café and bar, a 125-seat Mabinogion "destination" restaurant, plus space for education and learning, language study and potentially a museum.

In total the build is expected to cost an estimated £6m and will be funded through a combination of charitable donations. Around 50 jobs are also expected to be created at the site.

The Frank Wingett Cancer Appeal believes the sculpture could attract 150,000 visitors a year.

At the end of last month, Wrexham councillors agreed to grant an option on land it owns at Chirk Park with the charity to build the new attraction.

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