“MORE needs to be done to highlight the asset that Dream is to St Helens.”

Those are the words of ex-miner Gary Conley who helped to bring the landmark Dream sculpture to St Helens.

A Town Centre Strategy, which was published in September 2017, highlighted that the landmark has “never really captured the imagination to the same extent as the Angel of the North”.

Granddad-of-three Gary, says the landmark is a testament to St Helens’ “proud” heritage and that more should be done to highlight it as an asset. 

Dream, which is nine years old and sits of the site of the former Sutton Manor Colliery, was made by artist Jaume Plensa from Barcelona. It depicts the head and neck from nine-year-old girl with eyes closed dreaming about her future. 

Gary, from Newton-le-Willows, said: “When I went back to college, as an ice breaker we had to draw a picture of where we were from. Someone drew the Liver Building and we knew immediately they were from Liverpool. I drew for St Helens back in 1992 a rugby ball and I held this picture up and someone said to me, ‘Are you from Wigan?’ 

“As a Saints supporter that’s the biggest insult, but in 2018 this generation has a chance to draw Dream which shows you can only be from one place in the United Kingdom. Dream gives St Helens a unique identity and that should never be forgotten. 

“St Helens had around 80 collieries and saw around 400 years of mining, so when the Dream got built we wanted something to mark a place we loved and were proud of.

“The problem with that was a lot of mining monuments are very dour, but we wanted something that makes you proud to come home and see a monument like our version of the Angel of the North. 

 “Dream cost St Helens nothing, we got resources from the Arts Council and North West Development agency and the Forestry Commission, we didn’t want as former miners, resources taken away from schools, nursing homes, day centres, hospitals in St Helens.

“It’s a unique landmark, it gives us a unique identity and more needs to be done to highlight the asset that Dream is to St Helens.

“We have a proud heritage with mining, Beechams and Pilkington going back some years so it’s important to remember our past but look forward to the future and that’s what dream has always been about.” 

Gary is hoping to offer merchandise in the future from the World of Glass and is in discussion with the artist Jaume Plensa, who owns the image rights. 

He added: “The Dream is the second most popular landmark in St Helens after the Totally Wicked Stadium and we are proud of that.

“She is looking a bit dark at present but that’s caused from the residue from the vehicles on the M62. 

“When we first did this there was 35 million vehicles passing in a year and I reckon that’s doubled now and consequently that’s been the cause of the dirt and the grime that’s on her. 

“There are now plans for Dream to be thoroughly cleaned, so in a month or too she will be back to her most pristine. Logistically it’s not as straightforward as coming down due to the Spanish dolomite. 

“It costs £400 each time we have to come up here and clean off graffiti so I’d tell younger people to please respect the unique identity this gives to St Helens."

Meanwhile, housing plans for the former Smithy Manor pub site could potentially see greater car parking options created which would be accessible for those visiting The Dream. 

Current parking is across the road at Sutton Manor Park.
“I would really love for a little cafe or something to be opened by volunteers near Dream so people can come up and have a brew while looking at her. 

“It’s wonderful for me to see so many people coming up to see her.”
For more information on The Dream go to suttonbeauty.org.uk/beauty/dreamsthelens or dreamsthelens.com/visiting-dream.