A PARTIALLY sighted student has inspired a recovering artist to produce his first major sculpture for two years.

Renowned Herefordshire artist, Walenty Pytel, lost his memory after falling from a ladder at his Bromsash home in 2006.

But he’s ready to start his next project – a 20ft sculpture outside the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC), which was inspired by a former student.

Sarah Withers left the college more than a year ago after getting top marks in A-level art and design. Her painting “Running Man” captivated the metalworker, who enthused over its jagged lines and bird-like appearance during a visit.

Mr Pytel has been commissioned to create a sculpture based on the painting to stand outside the college. He’s looking forward to getting in the studio and insists Sarah was a major influence.

“I survived the accident but the only problem was that all my memories went for about six to eight months,” he said.

“All my life I have been making gigantic things all over the world, but I suddenly didn’t know how to get started.

“But now I can, and there’s not going to be a sculpture like this anywhere in the whole world. It’s an unusual shape and could be an animal or a bird, and it’s totally different to anything I’ve done.

“I really don’t want the credit as it was Sarah who produced it. I was so impressed with the design and it’s a nice piece of work.”

Mr Pytel, who also created the Bulmers woodpecker and four giant eagles at Benfica FC’s ground in Lisbon, will start making the 20ft metal structure in the coming weeks. It will be altered to make it tactile for the blind, while its unveiling will coincide with the opening of the new sports centre.

Dee Montague, RNC marketing officer, said the sculpture would be a centrepiece and said Sarah was a talented student.

“The painting looks almost robotic and a bit like fibre, but it looks absolutely fantastic and we can’t wait to see it.”