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New sculpture dedicated to Sir Nicholas Winton unveiled

A white lion sculpture dedicated to Sir Nicholas Winton has been unveiled at one of Maidenhead’s newest developments.

The work of art, outside Coppa Club in the High Street, represents the Czech Republic’s highest honour, the Order of the White Lion.

It was awarded to Sir Nicholas Winton for his part in saving hundreds of mostly Jewish children from then-Czechoslovakia at the Second World War loomed.

Sir Nicholas, who later settled in Maidenhead, was commemorated in a ceremony by Shanly Homes at its Chapel Arches scheme today, which included his son, Nick.

He said: “I’ve always been extremely proud of my father’s role in helping to save the lives of 669 children.

“I’m deeply moved to unveil this White Lion sculpture to honour my father and all those who follow his example to make a difference in the community.

“I’m delighted that his legacy lives on here in his home town, Maidenhead.”

Sir Nicholas helped the efforts of the Kindertransport, taking children out of continental Europe and giving them homes in the UK as Nazi Germany prepared to seize territory in the late 1930s.

His legacy continues today, with figures such as Lord Alfred Dubs, who was one of the rescued children, continuing to campaign for child refugees today.

Shanly Group’s operations director, Tamra Booth, said: “The White Lion sculpture is a fitting reminder of the heroic act Sir Nicholas Winton undertook almost 80 years ago.

“The impact he has had on so many young lives is truly enormous and is still felt by survivors and their families today.

“Given the significance of Sir Nicholas Winton’s contribution, it felt appropriate that this commemoration be the first in a series of inspirational public art to go on display at Chapel Arches.

“We are delighted to mark such bravery and compassion with this magnificent sculpture.”

Sir Nicholas was granted the Order of the White Lion by Czech president Milos Zeman in 2014. The ceremony today included the Czech ambassador to the UK, Libor Secka.

The Slovak Republic has also decorated him with the Order of the White Double Cross, the nation’s highest honour.

The white lion was made by metalwork sculptor Owen Cunningham, who worked with public art expert Gordon Young.

Owen said: “The lion, which is the centrepiece of this sculpture, is symbolic of power, justice and courage.

“It was made of steel to reflect the courage and resolve of Sir Nicholas Winton and all those whose kindness and help played an integral role in securing safe passage and new homes for these children.”

Shanly’s Chapel Arches scheme will see 260 flats built and construction on the new Waterside Quarter – the third and final part of the project – is ongoing.

More art pieces are set to be installed in the coming months.

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