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Shropshire based oil mist collectors manufacturer Filtermist International has started its 50th anniversary celebrations early with the unveiling of its ‘Filtermist Steams Ahead’ statue – one of 12 uniquely decorated statues in the Bridgnorth Art Trail Project.

Filtermist was approached by Bridgnorth Councillor Sarah Stevens earlier this year to find out if it was interested in taking part in the Art Trail. Organisers were looking for local organisations and firms who would be willing to sponsor a statue which would form a walking trail around the town to provide a free activity for local people and visitors to the area.

Filtermist thought that this would be a great way of giving something back to the local community where it was founded almost 50 years ago as Managing Director James Stansfield explains, “Filtermist was established in Bridgnorth in 1969 and as we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary next year, taking part in the Art Trail is one of the ways we will be marking this momentous milestone. We have grown enormously over the past 49 years and now sell our products, which are all still manufactured just down the road in Telford, into more than 60 countries worldwide.

“We are very proud of our heritage and it’s always a great talking point with our global distributors when they come to visit us. Having a statue dedicated to Filtermist offers an opportunity to show both local people and visitors a little about what we do and acts as a reminder of the diversity of successful Shropshire based businesses.”

The statue design is based around the iconic ‘Catch-Me-Who-Can’ locomotive which was built at the Hazledine foundry in Bridgnorth in 1808 and was the world’s first fare paying passenger locomotive.

Each statue was cast by local firm Grainger and Worrall and then painted individually by various local artists to represent the companies who have sponsored them. Filtermist decided that it would like to give the opportunity to a group of sixth form art students from Bridgnorth Endowed School.

The design brief was put together and the students were invited to visit Filtermist’s headquarters in Telford to get a feel for the company and to see exactly what it is that Filtermist does! They developed the brief into a design which Filtermist approved and the fun began.

“We are really pleased with the finished statue,” continues James. “The students have done an excellent job in translating the brief into a design which showcases both our roots and our global presence. We are very grateful to both the students and their teacher Mrs Rhodes for working so hard on our behalf.”

Other statue sponsors include Bridgnorth Aluminium, Grainger and Worrall, AV Birch and Bridgnorth Rugby Club who recently met at a preview event for sponsors and artists. The reception was held at the Marches Centre of Manufacturing and Technology (MCMT) which has played a pivotal role in this project.

The students from Bridgnorth Endowed School also worked on the Grainger and Worrall statue. Mrs Rhodes comments, “We were absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to work with local businesses and translate real life design briefs into 3D art which will be on show for the next five years.

“All of the students involved have really enjoyed the experience and are proud of the personal contribution they have made to this fabulous project.”

The statues have been placed around Bridgnorth contributing to the town’s heritage and cultural offering - the aptly named ‘Filtermist Steams Ahead’ statue is located at Fox Corner.

The statues form part of a two-mile walking trail which includes an anagram game for families and tourists to solve on their way around. More details can be found by visiting the dedicated facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CatchMeWhoCanBridgnorthArtTrail/

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