More than 13,000 people flocked to St Thomas’ Church to gaze at the illuminated Earth installation Gaia.

The six-metre diameter artwork by Luke Jerram was on display at the Douglas church for three weeks as part of a world tour and ended on Sunday.

Visitors were encouraged to reflect on how humans treat the planet as they viewed the spinning artwork while listening to the accompanying 29-minute musical composition.

A number of special events were held to mark Gaia’s stay at the church, including concerts with local musicians and choirs, a workshop with Biopshere Artist in Residence Ali Hodgson and a screening of ‘Wildlife Remembered’ with the Manx Wildlife Trust.

A series of ‘Climate Change Cafés’ were also held to provide a quiet and friendly space for people to share their feelings about the climate emergency, with all visitors to Gaia encouraged to make a pledge to commit to living more sustainably.

Reverend Liz Hull, from St Thomas’ Church, said: ‘It’s been fantastic welcoming so many people into the Church. We have had the help of more than 40 volunteers, some from church and environmental backgrounds.

‘We have also had many school visits and children through who have written some really poignant things about the Earth. It’s their heritage we need to protect.’

The visiting exhibit was a partnership by Net Zero Isle of Man, the Isle of Man Arts Council and headline sponsor Ørsted. The Gaia installation has helped meets a key deliverable action in the Climate Change Plan 2022–2027 by developing awareness and educational campaigns to help people understand the climate emergency, reduce climate anxiety and empower positive action.

John Galloway, development director for Ørsted in the Isle of Man, said: ‘We’re delighted that so many people on the Island came along and shared this special moment. The Gaia installation marked an important opportunity for everybody to see the delicate nature of our planet and the fact we all have a responsibility to take action to protect it.

‘The continued transition from fossil fuels to clean energy has never been more crucial and we’re committed supporting this in the island with our plans for the first offshore wind farm in Manx territorial waters.’

Gaia, an illuminated globe installation by UK artist Luke Jerram, at St Thomas' Church in Douglas - pictured is Aly Lewin of Net Zero Isle of Man
Gaia, an illuminated globe installation by UK artist Luke Jerram, at St Thomas' Church in Douglas - pictured is Aly Lewin of Net Zero Isle of Man (Dave Kneale)

Aly Lewin, head of the Climate Change Transformation Team, also believes the installation has helped raise awareness of the environmental issues we face and promoting a shared determination to tackle them.

She said: ‘This has been a great success story and community event. It has showed although we are a small Island we all need to come together and do our part to help with climate change, nature loss and biodiversity loss. By each of us playing a small part, we can form a greater collective.

‘I would like to extend my thanks to all the visitors who came along to experience Gaia, the volunteers and officers who helped arrange it, and our sponsorship partners who made it possible.’