The Knife Angel sculpture has arrived outside Chester Cathedral to raise awareness around knife crime and promote a message of peace.
Created from more than 100,000 surrendered knives and weapons, the powerful work will stand outside the west door throughout November.
It will be present for Remembrance Sunday and in the run-up to Christmas.
There will be a private launch event for the Knife Angel at the cathedral on Friday morning, November 1, but people are also expected to gather outside.
It will be attended by the artist Alfie Bradley, Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane, Canon Jane Brooke, Canon Missioner and Vice Dean Chester Cathedral and Chester mum Liz Ardolino, whose son Leo Marcus, 22, a former Upton High School student, was killed in a knife attack in Woolwich, London, in July.
Alfie Bradley, who made the 26ft tall sculpture at the Oswestry-based Ironwork Centre over 18 months, told CheshireLive: “It started probably about four or five years ago. I was looking at the news and there was knife crime everywhere, constantly, so I thought it would be a good idea to create something massive out of the knives handed in to police or taken off the streets.
“My last piece was 13ft so I thought I needed to do something twice the size.”
The Knife Angel, which had to be craned into place as it weighs 4.5 tons, has already visited Liverpool, Hull, Coventry, Middlesbrough, Rochester, and Derby.
It has caused a stir not just in this country but around the globe.
“It’s been on Russian news, Chinese news, it’s been crazy. They’ve even replayed the unveiling of the angel in Liverpool on South Korean TV so it’s pretty incredible,” said Alfie, who had to bleach and blunt every single knife in the structure.
Highlighting an important element, he continued: “Any family that has lost anyone through knife crime or suffered through knife crime can give me a personal message to engrave on the back of the wings.”
The sculpture is bringing to light just how bad knife crime and violence is within the UK and how something needs to change before it’s too late.
Asked what he hopes it will achieve, Alfie, who has not made a penny from the Knife Angel, commented: “It’s getting the message out there because it’s showing the pain and damage it causes to the families and everyone around.
“And when you look at little messages that kids write from school – because all the local schools in whatever area it goes come to see it so it’s part of an education and when you read their messages you can really tell it’s had an impact on them.”
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