A fused glass art installation designed and made by a Sheffield teenager was unveiled at a war memorial by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield.
Molly Meleady-Hanley, a pupil at Mount St Mary’s College, a Jesuit school, created the artwork in memory of the pupils and school staff who fought and died in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Artistic Molly was inspired to create the striking tribute by the centenary of the battle and the forthcoming 175th anniversary of the school.
The piece was unveiled in a special ceremony in front of the whole school and invited guests, including the Bishop of Hallam, Ralph Heskett, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, John Holt and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Denise Fox.
The service took place in the Memorial Chapel, within the school building in the village of Spinkhill, near Sheffield. Guests were welcomed by the school’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF) marching band. During the service, buglers from The Yorkshire Volunteer Corps of Drums played the Last Post and Reveille, which opened and closed a minute’s silence.
Molly, aged 13, who is a competitive race walker, a volunteer at Sparkle Sheffield and a poet, used Peter McArdle as her muse for the piece. The McArdle family lost four of five sons in the First World War, all of whom were pupils at Mount St Mary’s. Molly connected with Peter primarily as he was a sports scholar, like her.
Dr Nicholas Cuddihy, Headmaster of Mount St Mary’s, said, “Our mission is to grow men and women for others and Molly is a person who takes that message and adds to it. She is a role model, no doubt, and we are very proud of how generously she shares her talents and time for the good of others.”
The chapel, designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott, was completed in 1924 and is a registered national memorial to pupils and staff from the school killed in the First World War. More than 200 names are inscribed on the walls of the atrium to the chapel, listing those from Mount St Mary’s who died in the Second Boer War, First World War and Second World War. Molly’s artwork will be displayed in this space.