4th Plinth, Antony Gormley, Mark Lawson & Willo in Trafalgar Square

Gormley, Lawson & Willo
Gormley, Lawson & Willo

Tempus fugit! I can’t believe that it’s a week since Lyn and I were back in Trafalgar Square for the last day of the Plinth. We arrived just before dawn to the very colourful sight of the penultimate figure adorning the plinth with pink balloons in support of breast cancer care.

The final person to appear was Emma Burns, telling us a little about each of the 96 fans who died at, or as a result of, the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy, as she freed a red balloon for each one of them. As a Scouser (even though I only spent my first few weeks there, I’m proud to be a Liverpudlian), I was deeply touched by the disaster and was studying at Liverpool Poly at the time, so was close to it and the sorrow that overwhelmed the city.

I was hoping to catch up with the homeless guys who made my hour on the plinth so enjoyable. Indeed some of them were there, but not the one I had a dialogue with and I was really looking forward to having a ground level conversation with him, instead of us yelling to each other, him on the  ground and me towering above (now there’s a first!).

It was good to catch up with Mark Lawson too, as it was he who selected my painting Lunch at the Natural History Museum (Darwin Ponders Evolution) for the 2004 Discerning Eye Exhibition at the Mall Galleries.

I hadn’t really thought about going for the reunion next year, but judging by my conversations with the homeless people, they are really looking forward to it, so I may go. I gather the whole event has brought much colour and enjoyment to their lives and I’m guessing they are feeling rather lost now that it is all over. They seem to have an amazing community and are very supportive of each other.

In the square I met the beautiful ‘Lady Godiva’, who, I can report, is just as attractive with her clothes on! She very kindly allowed me to take her photo.

Both Lyn and I are so glad we went and Lyn was able to take her first look around the British Museum – or should I say a few of the rooms, as it is so vast and would take more than an afternoon to look around. And what a delight to be able to travel around London free on our OAP bus passes!

Mark Lawson chats to Willo
Mark Lawson chats to Willo
Antony Gormley
Antony Gormley

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Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

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