Huge dragon sculpture takes pride of place in village garden

Just weeks after completing a life-sized sculpture of a horse for a Driffield farmer, local fabricator Steve Albinger has been back in his workshop creating a mythical creature that has set alight a garden in North Frodingham.

Previously, Steve, of S A Fabrications, was commissioned with the task of making a skeleton, complete with all but a few of the human body’s 208 bones, based on Jason and the Argonauts for Professor Ann Mortimer, who lives at The Old Vicarage in the village, a house previously owned by the family of William Wilberforce.

The skeleton has since taken its place in the one-and-a-half-acre plantsman’s garden alongside several classical statues, wild animals and dinosaurs.

The latest addition to Professor Mortimer’s garden, which she has developed over the last 25 years, is a dragon which Steve was asked to create towards the end of 2022.

Almost on the back of completing the horse that now overlooks the B1249 at Wold Farm, Steve started work on the dragon, which has been christened Spike by Professor Mortimer and her family.

Eight weeks later, Spike is ready to greet the public when Professor Mortimer opens her garden and all its features to the public on Sunday 25th June.

“Ann approached me late last year about creating the sculpture as an addition to her garden,” said Steve.
“She wanted it ready for her open gardens event in June and I managed to do so in the nick of time.

“I started working on it around eight weeks ago and delivered it around a fortnight ago.

“It was an awkward and heavy design to create but I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do.

“It’s important to get the basic shape right and go from there. The steel was galvanised and then finished with an antique silver which gives it the blackened, dappled look.

“It was a narrow squeeze bringing it into the garden but a friend of mine used his forklift and then we brought it down on a wheelbarrow.

“I’m pleased with it overall. I always enjoy making these sculptures, although by the end of the project, I’m also always ready to finish.

“I’d made the horse only a few weeks before the dragon so maybe I should have had a break.

“I’ve got a few more interesting projects coming up, although none of them are sculptures.”

The Old Vicarage will open on 25th June as part of the National Garden Scheme, which raises money for several charities annually.

The event has previously seen around 350 people visit the garden to see its various themed areas.

Pleased with her latest addition, Professor Mortimer told the Wolds Weekly that she can’t promise this will be the last time Steve will be receiving a call from her.

“I’m extremely happy with the dragon statue,” she said. “It’s a real work of art. It goes nicely with all the other statues and sculptures in the garden which include a skeleton warrior, classical statues, ‘Jungle Book’ animals and some big dinosaurs.

“I suppose I’m a bit addicted to statues. Every time I get one, I think that will be last one, but it never is.

“I recently bought some flying ducks which I’ve put in one of the vistas and I just think you need something to look at when you’re sat in the garden.

“There is one area of the garden I am trying to keep statue-free, however, if I do want any more making, I’ll be getting in touch with Steve.

“The garden is looking good ahead of the opening. Nafferton Methodist Church will be providing the refreshments and it’s worth coming along just for those.

“We’ll be open for most of the day, as will another garden in Foston just along the road.

“We’ve had up to 350 in previous years so if the weather stays like it has been, it will be ideal.”

The Old Vicarage will be open from 10:30am-4:30pm on Sunday 25th June. Admission is £5 for adults and free for children.

Homemade teas will be available, with all proceeds from sales going to towards Nafferton Methodist Church.

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