Cornwall

Saltash Celtic Cross could generate millions says project leader

Mayor of Saltash Martin Gee, project manager Duncan Healey, artist Simon Thomas and town councillor Joe Ellison
Image caption The cross is being built in an aircraft hangar at Newquay

Millions of pounds could be generated for the Cornish economy following the installation of a huge Celtic Cross, says the leader of the project.

The cross is being sited in Saltash near the Tamar Bridge as part of a woodland regeneration programme.

Joe Ellison, a Saltash town councillor and project leader, says the cross could become "Cornwall's equivalent of the Angel of the North".

It is currently being assembled in an aircraft hangar at Newquay.

Mr Ellison said: "It's going to be a reason for people to stop off in Saltash instead of passing through the Saltash tunnel."

The 20m (66 ft) cross is made of carbon and resin and will be finished in copper, gold and silver. The copper element is designed to reflect Cornwall's history of mining the metal.

Giant structure

Cornwall is extremely rich in Celtic crosses. According to the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies there are more than 400 complete Celtic stone crosses standing in the county.

The giant structure, one single piece, had originally been expected to be in place by March, but was delayed because of the size of the project, organisers said.

Artist Simon Thomas said: "I have been waiting 13 years to get to this point. It's fantastic to see it in this state."

The Mayor of Saltash, Martin Gee, said: "This is iconic. This is going to be the same size as the Angel of the North. It will welcome people into Saltash and the rest of Cornwall.

"You're going to come across the Tamar Bridge and it's going to be an experience for people to see."

The project was awarded £450,000 of lottery funding in March 2010. Saltash Town Council gave £50,000 towards the scheme.

The Angel of the North has generated about £20m for the Tyne and Wear area where it is located.

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