Chris Sadler and his wife Cheryl make two things: ice cream and giant straw sculptures.
Begun in 1998 with a straw version of the Millennium Dome, things have only built from there. The Sadler’s come up with the concept each year and hire local Mike Harper to build the steel skeleton for the massive creations.
Over the years the sculptures have varied widely, including the 2003 Coneastrawus (a Stegosaur of sorts), the 2004 Angel from the North West, the technically quite impressive Millenium Wheel of 2005, the Snugnik Rocket of 2006, a straw version of the Lovell telescope in 2007, a Windmill in 2008, Big Ben in 2009, and what no doubt drew the most attention of all 2010’s 36 foot tall Meerkat. Like answering a deep desire that people didn’t even know they had, the Meerkat was a wild hit. In 2011 they kept to the animal theme and did a 9 ton, 38-foot-tall polar bear.
Why would an ice cream company create giant straw sculptures that can take three months to complete? In the words of builder Mike Harper “‘People absolutely adore it – it says that it cheers them up, and it doesn’t cost them anything.”