A NEW NATIONAL landmark which aims to profile a million answered prayers has been given the go ahead to be built on a site near Birmingham – and Worcester born and raised Richard Gamble is the visionary behind the whole project.
Gamble who grew up around Worcestershire in the Holt Heath area, attended RGS Worcester – graduating in 1986 – before studying Economics at the University of Leicester.
Having first got the idea for Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer in 2004, Gamble launched the project in 2015 with a kickstarter campaign.
A Royal Institute of British Architects’ competition between 2016-2019 decided the winning design, and now the project has received planning permission to sit on land in Coleshill in the heart of the UK after North Warwickshire Borough Council granted planning permission, and the Secretary of State ratified the decision.
Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will eclipse the size of the Angel of the North, to stand at 169 feet and is expected to attract 300,000 visitors each year, contributing £9.3million to the local Warwickshire economy.
The iconic ‘eternal’ arch structure will be constructed using a million bricks, each one representing an individual prayer that has been answered for people across the country. In addition, using interactive technology and a bespoke app, visitors will be able to use their smart device, holding it against any brick to read the personal answered prayer story behind each one.
Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer CEO Richard Gamble, who was also former chaplain of Leicester City Football Club, said: “It’s been 16 years since the idea was first born. “To finally receive the official consent is incredible. We are building a very special landmark and it is an amazing opportunity for the British people to leave a legacy of hope for future generations.
“Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will make hope visible to the UK. The unique thing about the project is all about the community: it is crowdfunded and a million people will come together to crowdcreate this incredible piece of art with their stories of hope. What we’re doing is historic.”
It is anticipated the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will create 60 new jobs during its two year construction phase from 2021, thereafter providing 20 full-time positions for employees to work for the charity in the visitor centre, café, bookstore and a 24 hour on-site chaplaincy support service.
It is also estimated the monument will generate an additional gross social value of £1.4billion, including £430 million in charitable donations.
Worcester City Church senior leader Simeon Chapman, said: “Eternal Wall is a fabulous vision from God. The one million testimonies will scream of His hope, it proclaims to people, the nation and the nations that God can do it again!
The winning design Möbius strip concept, using an ‘eternal’ surface which seemingly has no beginning and no end, was put forward by Paul Bulkeley, from Snug Architects in Southampton.
Construction is expected to begin in December 2021 with completion in autumn 2022.