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24 September 2014

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Symbol of the millennium
Arthur Aaron's statue
Arthur Aaron's statue in detail
Leeds' Eastgate roundabout has become the home of a sculpture celebrating the heroic deeds of second world war bomber pilot Arthur Aaron VC.
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Arthur Aaron was chosen in a poll of thousands of Leeds residents to be the subject of a sculpture marking the millennium.

Mr Aaron was the only second-world-war serviceman from Leeds to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

A Victoria CrossFamous sculptor
The statue was commissioned from Barnsley artist Graham Ibbeson
one of the country's most popular figurative sculptors.

He is also responsible for the celebrated statue of comedian Eric Morecambe.

Represents freedom

The five-metre-high bronze sculpture on the Eastgate roundabout represents the way Mr Aaron's life secured freedom for future generations.

Mr Ibbeson says: "The sculpture is not just a war memorial. It is dedicated to Aaron, but it is more about what he represents.

"It is celebrating the youth of children in Leeds and their future."

Unveiled by survivor
The scuplture was unveiled on Saturday 24 March 2001 by Malcolm Mitchem.

Mr Mitchem is the last surviving member of the aircraft crew that the dying Aaron helped fly safely home from Italy to Africa after being attaked by a night fighter.

The Millennium statueArthur Aaron was selected from many other heroes and heroines of the city - including Joshua Tetley, Quaker reformer Isabella Ford, and sculptor Henry Moore - in a vote organised by the Leeds Civic Trust.

The sculpture was funded by the Scurrah Wainwright Charity, run by The Guardian journalist, Martin Wainwright.

Dove of peace
The statue features the bomber pilot as a young man, who had just graduated in architecture at the University of Leeds, standing at the foot of a tree.

The tree is being climbed by children from the period 1950-2000, with the highest and smallest being a girl releasing the dove of peace.

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