Page last updated at 11:30 GMT, Sunday, 15 June 2008 12:30 UK

Giant artwork 'almost complete'

Aspire being built
The structure will be red and orange in colour when completed

Work on what is claimed to be Britain's tallest free-standing work of public art is almost complete.

Aspire, a 60m red and orange steel girder tube, was commissioned by the University of Nottingham to mark its 60th anniversary.

The 800,000 project is being funded by an anonymous benefactor and will be officially launched on the Jubilee Campus on 14 July.

When complete, it will rise above the Angel of the North and Nelson's column.

A few years ago, if you had asked us to build this I would have said it was impossible
Geoff Howard, Watson Steel Structures
The sculpture, which weighs about 50 tonnes, is being manufactured in three sections by Watson Steel Structures, Bolton.

Aspire will be transported to Nottingham, where it will be put in place by 300-tonne cranes over two days.

Paul Thompson, deputy managing director of Watson Steel Structures, said a team of 10 to 12 men had been working on the iconic structure for about 10 weeks.

He said various processes were being used, including welding and fabrication techniques and tube profiling machines.

Geoff Howard, from Watson Steel, said it was one of the best projects he has worked on.

"A few years ago, if you had asked us to build this I would have said it was impossible but now we can do it.

"I will go and see it once it is up, I'll take the missus and enjoy a pint of Nottingham beer."

University reveals 60-metre spike
18 Jan 08 |  Nottinghamshire

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