Press Releases 2016

UWTSD’s Mark Sawyer designs and creates sculpture to commemorate Lampeter as birthplace of rugby in Wales


Lampeter recently celebrated its place in rugby history by marking 150 years since the town hosted the first ever competitive rugby match to be played in Wales. Last month, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David hosted a range of rugby related events to mark Lampeter’s contribution to the sport.

The 2015 /2016 season is the 150th anniversary of the first competitive rugby match ever played in Wales between St David’s College (now UWTSD) and nearby Llandovery College.

As a lasting commemoration, Mark Sawyer, all trades technician at UWTSD, designed and created a sculpture of a large rugby ball that was unveiled during the day’s celebrations. It now stands proud outside the Canterbury building on the Lampeter Campus.

Mark said: “It was an honour to be approached by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Medwin Hughes and the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Gwyndaf Tobias who asked if I would like to design and sculpt a large Rugby Ball for the 150th celebration of Lampeter as birthplace of welsh rugby.  I jumped at the chance to create a permanent sculpture of my work on campus.

“What makes the sculpture really special is that the original bath-stone used to create it came from the original Canterbury building on the Lampeter campus. The stone would have been standing at the same time that the first match was played back in 1866. Creating the sculpture out of a stone with such a historical tie to the campus really emphasises the significance of the celebration.  

“The stone was dug out from the old railway bank where it was placed many years ago. It was graded and hand-sewn into usable blocks, and then carved to form. It took approximately 30 days to hand sculpt the ball and hand carve 280 letters. The sculpture was installed with the help of the UWTSD Estates team.

“There is nothing better than being presented with a challenge, going away to study and research, creating the right tools for the job,  having to practice and then  completing an end product to the highest standard.

“I am very lucky to be able to say that my job is my hobby. I will always be very proud that a permanent piece of my work will stand in Lampeter and represent such an important part of the campus’ history.”

Mark also designed and crafted the University’s Mace chest which is used at every important ceremony on all campuses.  He is also involved in restoration and preservation work on campus which involves various forms of carpentry, carving, architectural stone work, metal work and design.

Note to Editor

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