A SCULPTOR has created a monument to raise awareness of the conservation efforts needed to save the Elm tree.

Most of the Elm trees in the country were decimated in the 1970s as Dutch Elm Disease spread , but the battle is still on to save the remaining trees.

Keith Pettit, from East Hoathly, has designed a sculpture that will stand in Preston Park in Brighton before it is moved to the Cuckmere Valley.

It is being moved to the Cuckmere Valley in Sussex is one of the last places in the country to contain mature Elm trees.

“It is one of the key battle grounds to protect them,” Mr Pettit said.

The sculpture is a two-part screen made from and Elm tree which had to be felled to stop the spread of the disease.

“All the wood within the sculpture is from trees that had to be felled last winter and the winter before last to try and stop the spread of the infection,” Mr Pettit added.

The fungal infection is spread by beetles which burrow into the bark of trees to reproduce. The tree’s natural defence mechanisms kick in but they ultimately end up killing the tree.

“It’s a perfect storm,” Mr Pettit said. “It’s terrifying.”

Mr Pettit’s sculpture was made as part of a project by the Conservation Foundation, a UK charity that works to engage people in environmental issues, after it was awarded a grant from the Lottery Fund to help East Sussex County Council reduce the spread of Dutch Elm Disease.

Mr Pettit said: “The Conservation Foundation and East Sussex County Council helped me achieve this idea that I’d had, to create a memorial to the Elm tree.”

“I tend to think big with sculpture and this piece was primarily created with a chainsaw. Whenever I use my chainsaw, I always have a little shiver of fear as I start it up and I think that keeps me on my toes.”