Warwick's horse sculpture project reaches halfway

GAME ON: John Simpson and his dream of a traffic stopping monument (artist's impession inset) honouring the region's equine history is a few steps closer to realisation.
GAME ON: John Simpson and his dream of a traffic stopping monument (artist's impession inset) honouring the region's equine history is a few steps closer to realisation. Jonno Colfs

WARWICK artist John Simpson is halfway to seeing his dreams come to life.

The former Scots College teacher, who has been in an 11 year battle with luekemia, has a vision to build a massive traffic-stopping monument.

The huge sculpture will sit at the edge of Queens Park, right on the highway and will honour the region's rich equine history.

The project, which has been in the pipeline for more than ten years and will cost $125,000 to complete, has taken a huge leap forward this year.

In July, with already about $30,000 of support from the community, Mr Simpson began a gofundme page to appeal to the local community to assist with what will be a local landmark.

John Simpson is getting closer to seeing his dream come to life. Here's an artist's impression of what the sculpture will look like at Queens Park.
John Simpson is getting closer to seeing his dream come to life. Here's an artist's impression of what the sculpture will look like at Queens Park.

Mr Simpson said the gofundme page had currently raised $4565 to add to the kitty, but the news gets better.

"In late September I received a letter from the Queensland Government saying a Gambling Community Benefit Fund grant of $33,000 had been awarded to the project," he said.

"This takes the total past $65,000 and over halfway to the goal."

Mr Simpson said the grant application took about a month to get together.

"The experience I've had with past grant proposals helped me a lot."

"We have had a few heartbreaking knockbacks over the years.

"I went through a period of depression over the knockbacks, I thought the project was never going to see the light of day.

"But we're getting really close now, and it's very exciting."

Next in the pipeline is Lasting Legacy grant proposal, under the auspices of the ANZAC 100 Centenary Fund.

Mr Simpson said the proposal was for $70,000 plus.

"Successful applicants will be advised in February 2017."

"That was submitted at the end of September and will see us reach our goal."

Another exciting development for the project comes by the way of a grant application being submitted by the Southern Downs Regional Council in an effort to secure further funding for the project.

"It's fantastic to have the council behind me on this project, it's very exciting to have their support."

Mr Simpson said in order to gain funds he needed to either establish an incorporation or find a local organisation to help access the grants.

"The 11th Light Horse Warwick Montrose Troop Inc., jumped at the opportunity to get behind this project, which pays tribute to the equine industry in Warwick."

Despite the support and influx of funding, it hasn't been all smooth sailing for the Warwick sculptor.

"I spent a month in hospital with heart complications in June and July, which took a little wind out out the sails."

"But all the help from local organisations and media has got the project back into the hearts and minds of the people and they're getting behind it, it's very exciting."

Topics:  community horse sculpture warwick

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