A 24-year-old local artist admitted he was "really proud" to be unveiling his sculpture on Cradley Heath High Street at the opening of the new Tesco Extra store.

Hundreds of shoppers turned up on Monday morning to witness Luke Perry unveiling his design, which stands close to the main entrance of the new store.

Luke was asked by Sandwell Council to work with pupils from Heathfield Foundation Technology School to design a statue to pay tribute to the borough's industrial heritage.

The £50,000 sculpture was commissioned and funded by Tesco to coincide with the opening of the eagerly awaited store and the eye-catching 26 foot tall steel design entitled Cradley Column', took the team eight months to build.

Inspired by the many Victorian industrial chimneys which once stood in Cradley Heath, the column depicts historical events and local landmarks which are unique to the area, such as Speedway.

Sixteen children from Heathfields worked closely with Luke for five months to design the column and each designed a panel on the statue.

Luke, of Lightwoods Road, Pedmore, said: "What we have been able to do is create something solid and lasting using ways and techniques that our grandparents would have used in the Black Country's heyday.

"The column is divided into vertical sections by means of horizontal straps, which would have been used for support in a working chimney.

"I am delighted to have been asked by Sandwell Council to complete this statue.

"I specialise in large art pieces but this is the first thing I have been able to do in this size.

"I am glad the council put their trust in me."

Earlier in the morning children from Corngreaves Primary school cut the ribbon to officially open the new Tesco supermarket as well as collecting a £1,000 cash donation on behalf of the Tesco Charity Trust.