‘One Small Step’ to the Chelsea Flower Show

Needle Fountain - resizedBirmingham City Council’s gold winning parks’ team celebrate the work of local artist Willard Wigan and grass root sport with this year’s Chelsea Flower Show entry – a display designed to inspire people to take the all-important step to becoming more active.

‘One Small Step’ uses Willard’s tiny needle sized artworks as its starting point and highlights ways to get active – from football and boxing to kayaking and cricket.

The 10m x 10m island display in the Grand Pavilion (GPD/156) is split into several elements.

Element 1, The Needles – The centre piece of the display is a five metre tall needle with two other needles stretching across the display.  One has water pouring around the eye and the other has a planted line of hardy Gerbera running down the middle. The third needle holds a carpet bedded punch ball and pair of wicker boxing gloves.

Element 2, Activity – At the top of the central needle is a wicker recreation of one of Willard’s artworks – two small children playing on a see saw.  A hummingbird will be in a group of metal birds to represent walking in your local park.

Element 3, Sport – A number of sports will be showcased here including Park Run and Couch to 5k training packages, which Birmingham City Council offers free to Birmingham residents as part of the Active Parks programme.  There are also references to the Hole Farm Trekking centre in Woodgate Valley Country Park and the Pat Benson Boxing academy, renamed after its most successful trainer Pat in 2011 just after Pat was named BBCWM Unsung Hero Award.Willard Wigan portrait resized

Willard Wigan said:

“Birmingham has always proudly represented me and I’ve always been proud to represent Birmingham.  It is an honour and a pleasure to be involved in Birmingham’s display at Chelsea.  We tend to disregard the little things that we can’t see but my sculptures have a very big impact and I am looking forward to seeing how they will work in this design.”

Deputy Leader for Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, added:

“Year on year, our staff pull out all the stops to create imaginative displays that push the boundaries in design.  This year’s entry celebrates the work of local artist Willard Wigan and grass root sport with giant needle structures, a beautiful water feature and plenty of flowers and structural plants, grown in the city’s nurseries and hot house.

“’One Small Step’ is completely sponsored by residents, local businesses and companies with an interest in Birmingham.  Thanks to their generosity we can continue to wow at Chelsea with another jaw dropping display. “

Plants – all of the flowering plants have been produced and grown in the city’s nurseries and all of the structural plants are cared for in the council’s special show hot house.  Flowering plants include Antirrhinum Arrow vars, Ageratum,  Cosmos sonata vars, Tagetes Durango vars, Nicotiana cuba vars, Zinnia Magellan vars, Dahlia Dalina vars, Impatiens New Guinea ColourPower vars, Osteospermum margarita vars, Begonia Amstel vars.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from Tuesday 24- Saturday 28 May, with the press day on Monday 23 May.

After Chelsea – The display will be recreated in Cannon Hill Park and an exhibition of the road to Chelsea alongside 15 pieces of Willard’s work will be on display in the Midland Arts Centre throughout June.


For further media information about the display or the build contact Press and PR Officer Debbie Harrison on 0121 303 4476 or debbie.harrison@birmingham.gov.uk

For Chelsea Flower Show Flickr Album see – https://www.flickr.com/photos/birminghamnewsroom/albums/72157667981597372

For further media information about Willard Wigan contact  Andy Seger on 07966 263810 or andy.seger2@hotmail.com



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  1. Judy Dyke says:

    Loved Willard’s exhibition at the library, so pleased his work at our Chelsea garden.He is great ambassador for Brum.