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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 03:19 GMT
Year of events for Angel birthday
Angel of the North

Ten couples are to be invited to renew their wedding vows at the foot of Tyneside's Angel of the North to celebrate its 10th birthday.

The iconic 20m (66ft) sculpture, created by Antony Gormley, overlooks the A1 motorway and has become one of the UK's best-known pieces of art.

The ceremony is just one of many events planned during 2008 to mark the anniversary milestone.

The Angel, which cost 800,000, was commissioned by Gateshead Council.

Welcoming visitors from the A1 and the main East Coast rail line, it is estimated it is seen by one person every second, 90,000 each day and 33m every year.

Hundreds of jobs

Mick Henry, leader of Gateshead Council, said: "When we first proposed the Angel of the North, some people failed to understand the vision behind the project.

"They didn't understand the bold use of public art as a driving force for regeneration.

"We remained confident that it was the right thing to do for Gateshead and that the Angel of the North would help bring about the transformation in the borough that we all wanted.

"Ten years on and the Angel has directly led to the likes of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and The Sage Gateshead, bringing with them millions of pounds of investment and hundreds of jobs."

ANGEL OF THE NORTH
Took four years to design and manufacture
Contains 3,153 pieces of steel
Took 20 men six months to assemble
Sits in 20m (66ft) deep foundations

During the year there will also be cultural festivals and events managed by culture10 and the NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

The highlight will be a family party at the Angel site on 22 June.

Councillor Henry added: "The Angel of the North is seen as the defining structural symbol of renaissance in the North East."

Antony Gormley's design was chosen from a shortlist of international artists in 1994.

The statue has a wingspan of 177ft (54m) - wider than that of a Boeing 767.

With its exposed hillside position, the Angel's wings and foundations had to be built to withstand strong south-easterly winds of up to 100 miles an hour.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Some of the Angel's critics have their say



SEE ALSO
Gormley unveils metal model nudes
15 May 03 |  Entertainment
Sculptor Gormley mobilises art army
04 Mar 03 |  Entertainment

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