A UNIQUE piece of art made in memory of murdered four-year-old Ryan Hawkins has been installed at the playgroup he went to.

The eye-catching tree-shaped sculpture, made from carbon steel piping by Slaithwaite company Steel Dreams, is on show at Slaithwaite Playgroup in Bank Gate.

Ryan went to the playgroup for a year before he was stabbed to death by his father Christopher last September 23.

Playgroup leader Gail Moore said: “It will always be a reminder for us all of the time we were lucky enough to spend with such a special boy.

“We just feel so sad that such a beautiful sculpture has resulted from such a traumatic tragedy.

“Looking to the future, this tree has been designed to be a showcase for the children’s work and learning and so will be enjoyed by them for years to come.”

The sculpture was paid for by more than £600 that was raised by the local community.

It has small models representing the topics that the children look at over the course of the year, including autumn, celebrations, buildings, mini-beasts, travel and food.

It includes a small plaque with Ryan’s picture and a message that reads: “Today, tomorrow and all life through, we will always love and remember you.”

Sculptor Carl Stott, who gave his time for free, said: “Slaithwaite is such a small village and news is always flying around. When it happened everyone was shocked.

“I live down the road from where the family lived and I used to go to the playgroup.

“For me to be able to do something for the local community and something that the kids can learn from and that will be there for a long time is fantastic.”

Ryan’s mother, Valerie Gee, said: “Ryan loved the playgroup and had lots of friends. He used to run down here in the morning. I really like the sculpture.”

Gail thanked Steel Dreams and Ryan’s family.

She added: “Obviously none of this would have been possible without the generous donations from the local community.”

The playgroup will be open from 10.30am to noon on Saturday, April 26, for anyone who wants to see the sculpture.