01/11/2021

University of Bolton donates bronze busts of benefactors to help Bolton Parish Church celebrate its 150th anniversary

Bronze sculptures of five important benefactors have been donated by the University of Bolton to Bolton Parish Church as it celebrates its 150th anniversary.

The works of art were unveiled at a ceremony at the Parish Church, attended by dignitaries from the town.

One of the busts is of the current Vicar of Bolton, Rev Chris Bracegirdle, which also represents all his predecessors over the church’s 150 year history, was unveiled by the Bishop of Bolton, the Rt Rev Mark Ashcroft, at the ceremony.

The other sculptures feature:

Mr Peter Ormrod - a Bolton cotton manufacturer and banker who personally financed the £47,000 rebuilding cost of Bolton Parish Church. The bust was unveiled by Miss Evelyn Weston and Councillor John Walsh, Parish Churchwardens.

Revd Canon James Slade - Vicar of Bolton from 1817 to 1856, who dedicated his life to improving the conditions of the people of Bolton for almost 40 years. The bust was unveiled by Mrs Karen Sudworth, Head Teacher at Canon Slade School, Bolton.

Dr Samuel Taylor Chadwick - a doctor and philanthropist who was passionate about the importance of education and cared deeply about public health issues. He donated funds to set up a clinic and hospital ward and the Mechanics Institute which was the forerunner to the University of Bolton. The bust was unveiled by Professor George E Holmes DL, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton.

Mr Thomas Henry Markland CBE - a Bolton businessman and philanthropist who created a Trust Fund (The Markland Trust) in 1966 for “the repair, maintenance and upkeep of the Parish Church and for the promotion of the works sponsored by the Parish Church including educational, religious and missionary works”.

The bronze busts, which weigh 30kg each, were sculpted by Dr Nadey Hakim, a talented artist whose work has been displayed internationally and includes portraits of the Queen, Pope Francis, and Emmanuel Macron.

Dr Hakim, who is also a pioneering surgeon and an Honorary Doctor of the University of Bolton, said he was honoured to have been involved in the church’s anniversary celebrations and had been “greatly inspired” by the people being commemorated.

He said: “It was extraordinary to be ask to sculpt five pieces and has been a very humbling experience.”

Mr Markland’s son John also attended the ceremony. As he unveiled the bust of his father, who died in 1977, he said: “I am sure my father would have derived a great deal of pleasure to see the strength of the links between the Parish Church and the town’s institutions and the University of Bolton.”

The Bishop of Bolton said: “The sculpture of the current Vicar of Bolton represents all those who have come before. It is a great privilege to be here today.”

The University’s President and Vice Chancellor, Professor George E Holmes DL, who also attended in his capacity as a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, told the invited guests: “The University’s connection with the community is very important to us.

“We should reflect on the significance of these five individuals and celebrate their contribution to this town.

“It has been a privilege for us at the University to be involved in this historic celebration.”

Bolton Parish Church was consecrated and reopened by Bishop James Fraser, the Bishop of Manchester, on St Peter’s Day, 29 June 1871.

 

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