Jimi Heselden: Stone sofa commemorating Leeds charity hero unveiled

SIT AND CHAT: Making use of the new 'sofa' are, from left, Morag Tobin, Michael Parker, Scott Needham, Joseph Green, Elliott Ward, Ashley Hepworth, Leanne Pedder and Joanne Horn.
SIT AND CHAT: Making use of the new 'sofa' are, from left, Morag Tobin, Michael Parker, Scott Needham, Joseph Green, Elliott Ward, Ashley Hepworth, Leanne Pedder and Joanne Horn.
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A stone sofa commemorating the life of Leeds millionaire businessman Jimi Heselden has been unveiled in a Leeds park.

The memorial was created by students from Leeds City College to mirror the concertainer gabion structures, patented by Mr Heselden, and used as barriers to bombs and bullets in warfare.

Representatives from Leeds City College, The Prince’s Trust, Groundwork and the Primrose Valley Association unveiled Jimbo’s Sofa at Primrose Valley Park in Halton, Leeds.

Mr Heselden gave millions to charities, including children’s charities, during his life.

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Mr Heselden, a former miner who founded Leeds-based company Hesco Bastion and was the owner of the upright-scooter manufacturer Segway Inc, died in a tragic accident in September 2010.

He was riding a Segway close to his home in Wetherby when it plunged off a cliff.

Hesco Bastion donated the empty structure which has been filled with Yorkshire stone cobbles and is surrounded by a flower patch, due to bloom in spring.

It is the result of youth charity The Prince’s Trust’s 12-week Team programme, which helps young people develop the skills and confidence to get them into work, education or training while also contributing to the local community.

A group of 10 young people, aged 17-24, planned the project, sourced materials, helped with fund raising, with donations from Jimbo’s Fund and Unilever, and completed the structure within four weeks.

Leeds City College NEET tutor Elliott Ward, who led the programme, said: “The team wanted to build something that would provide a focal point in this beautiful Leeds park and also celebrate the late Jimi Heselden. Jimbo’s Sofa is constructed using his concertainer gabion invention, which is now used worldwide, and we thought it was important to remember its origin.”

Alison Curnow, from The Prince’s Trust in Yorkshire, added: “By working on the project as a team it has helped the young people to boost their skills and confidence.”

Groundwork, the environmental regeneration charity, is working with the college to create a similar sculpture in the Wyke Beck Valley.

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