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Last Updated: Friday, 1 October, 2004, 05:56 GMT 06:56 UK
Wood carver's royal customer
Simon O'Rourke
Simon O'Rourke sculpts part-time
The work of a wood carver from Wrexham has received the royal seal of approval.

Simon O'Rourke's Sleeping Girl sculpture has been bought for the Queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

Estate managers paid 800 for the sculpture after they saw it during a competition.

The 26-year-old, who carves part-time, finished third at the English Open Chainsaw Carving Competition.

The Queen's staff successfully bid to buy the carving during an auction at Sandringham.

"The Sleeping Girl had a blanket thrown over her and different textures were needed for the blanket and skin," he said.

The Sleeping Girl sculpture
The Sleeping Girl sculpture is at Sandringham Estate

"I wanted to produce something that was restful.

"I was really surprised when my name was read out for third place.

"I was pleased with my work, but the others were more experienced. It came as a real shock," he added.

Sleeping Girl at Sandringham took Mr O'Rourke 20 hours of work over three days, including sanding and finishing.

It measures eight feet long by three and a half feet wide.

"I had an image in my head a few weeks before, and did a few drawings," said Mr O'Rourke.

"I didn't take the drawings with me and did the sculpture from memory.

"I don't think I'm like other chainsaw carvers in that I like to try things that are a challenge.

"Coming from an art background, I like to do things that are a study of life," he added.

Simon, who works for Acorn Furniture and Arbor Care in Rhosddu near Wrexham, was primarily a tree surgeon but he has now started making carvings out of discarded trunks.

"We are seeing more and more requests for wood carving," said his boss Nick Lumb.

"Nothing goes to waste," he added.

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