Walter ‘Snowy’ Farr MBE (1919 to 2007) was a well-known presence in Cambridge Market Square, where he would collect money for charity.
Snowy Farr dressed distinctively in antique military wear and eccentric hats. He was often accompanied by live animals including mice, cats and a goat. He was awarded an MBE in 1995 in recognition of his fundraising.
We approved a project to commission an artwork to recognise Snowy’s contribution to fundraising and to Cambridge shortly after his death. The brief was for a work that not only celebrated Snowy's achievements but also reflected his character and spirit.
We compiled a long list of artists with relevant experience, and selected five to develop concept proposals for the artwork. After a public consultation and assessment of the five proposals, we commissioned Gary Webb to develop a detailed design.
When developing the sculpture, Gary didn't want “a formal, serious, figurative sculpture like Nelson on a column or Churchill on a pillar”. Snowy seemed to figure in the imaginations of all who saw him when they were young. So Gary wanted to make something fun, engaging and memorable for all ages – but especially for children.
Gary believed this sculpture should be abstract because Snowy was an eccentric English character. He wanted to emphasise Snowy Farr's instantly recognisable features and colours.
The aluminium and bronze sculpture was installed outside the Guildhall in 2012, near the site where Snowy collected money for charity. It was paid for using S106 developer contributions of £72,400, which could only be used for the commissioning of public art.