BRONZED CHEDI BRINGS ENLIGHTENMENT TO RUNCORN’S HIGH STREET.

Jun 20, 2024

An impressive six-metre hollow, bronzed statue donated by a benefactor at Wat Phra Singh UK’s parent temple in North Thailand has made its intercontinental journey to form the centrepiece of Reconnecting Runcorn’s Peace Garden.

A chedi – or Buddhist stupa – enshrines relics and keeps the memory of the Buddha and his teachings alive. Hand crafted by monks and taking eight months to build, the Chedi (or Buddhist stupa) design is a replica of one in Chiang Mai, and is based on the ‘Lanna style’. Chiang Mai was the capital of the old Lanna Kingdom with Lanna meaning one million rice fields. Reaching six metres tall, the statue comprises of four main faces, all of which tell a story key to the teachings within Buddhism. The Chedi also features the ‘naga’, a mythical serpent that protected the Buddha whilst he was meditating to gain enlightenment.

The Chedi was fully completed in April and the impressive artefact embarked on its 5,644 mile intercontinental journey from The Gulf of Siam via Felixstowe to Runcorn, where forms the centrepiece of the Reconnecting Runcorn’s High Street Connectivity Project – Community Peace Garden.

Tony Collacott, Trustee of the temple, says: “When the idea of the Peace Garden was first conceptualised, there was never a thought that there would be such a spectacular statue coming to Runcorn from Thailand. Initially when the idea was born for a peace garden, adjacent to the temple it was just to make use of the piece of land for the community where people could gather, be together or just sit and think on their own. I couldn’t quite believe that a benefactor at our parent temple in North Thailand was donating and designing the Chedi to be sent over to Runcorn and take centre stage in the garden.”

To ensure the statue arrived in one piece it was split into the five sections it was cast and built in before being carefully wrapped and placed in a crate inside the container. It travelled with a large Buddha, donated by the parent temple, and will become the centrepiece to the new Ubosot hall and unveiled at a Si Ra Reuk ceremony on Sunday 23 June.

Following the ceremony, it will take several weeks to finish the Chedi’s positioning and placement with the hopes of having an unveiling ceremony in September 2024.

In the meantime, the Temple’s Peace Garden and the Ubosot Hall (New Hall) which is also being developed as part of the project have also been chosen to take part in the Liverpool Architecture Festival from 1st June till 30th June 2024 where the public will have the opportunity to have a guided tour.

In 2021 Runcorn secured £23.6m funding from the Local Government’s Town Deal Fund, aiming to regenerate the town and has gained support from local residents  plus Susan Nickson. Who was brought up in Runcorn and wrote the acclaimed BBC sitcom ‘Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps’, which was also filmed in Runcorn.

Alongside the work starting on site at the Peace Garden several other Reconnecting Runcorn project strands hit key milestones in their timelines.

  • The Health and Education Hub project successfully received planning permission at the end of January so they can now begin looking at the next steps of the project.
  • As part of the Unlock Runcorn project, the civil landscaping strand submitted planning permission for the proposed new public realm infrastructure and layout for the new canal-based visitor attraction.
  • As part of the creative and digital skills hub the new Youth Centre at 57-59 High Street is set to break ground in the coming months.
  • The High Street new homes have broken ground with Halton Housing at the helm of development.
UKSPF PRESS RELEASE

UKSPF PRESS RELEASE

Halton Borough Council celebrates the delivery of key projects under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) programme, with more to come. As UKSPF enters the final year of a three-year programme (2022-2025), Halton Borough Council’s Programmes Office, who are...