War Horse – A Place of Peace to be Together

In the year that marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, a new memorial sculpture has been unveiled in Featherstone, West Yorkshire to commemorate the 353 soldiers from the town that were killed.

WWI claimed the lives of 21 million people across the world. In Wakefield, Featherstone Town Council and local residents are focused on embedding remembrance at the heart of the community for all to enjoy, share stories and share history.

The World War I memorial entitled War Horse, A Place of Peace To Be Together was possible thanks to a £50,000 grant from funding body WREN. The money, awarded by WREN’s FCC Community Action Fund, has been used to support the creation of the new memorial sculpture at the Mill Pond Meadow in Featherstone. WREN is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community, biodiversity and heritage projects from funds donated by FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund.

War Horse, created by internationally renowned artists Cod Steaks, is designed to create a place of peace, remembrance and reflection and is sited in a local nature reserve.

War Horse – image by Cod Steaks

Councillor Margaret Isherwood the Mayor of Featherstone said “This is a really exciting project for the Town of Featherstone, but we must never forget the sacrifice of the 353 soldiers that we are commemorating with this wonderful piece of Public Art.”

The origins of the idea for this project stem from research over the last ten years resulting in a book titled ‘Featherstone In the First World War’ which was funded through the neighbourhood renewal fund. The research and school engagement linked to this book kick-started the idea for a longer-term project. A subsequent school engagement project to plant a commemorative wood at the crossroads coming from Streethouse into Featherstone was delivered in 2014 marking the 100th Centenary of WWI. 353 trees have been planted, one for each resident of Featherstone who lost his/her life. This site is called Mill Pond Meadows.

War Horse made its long journey up by road from Bristol in mid-April. Standing at 20 ft tall it was quite a sight to behold on the motorway.

Penny Horne, WREN’s grant manager for Yorkshire says: “It’s always nice to see something we have funded start to take shape. We’re honoured to be supporting such a poignant project and look forward to War Horse having a positive impact on the local people of Featherstone and the surrounding areas.”

The vision for War Horse has become a reality thanks to significant funding from WREN and local sponsors including: Harris Bros., D.S Smith Packaging, DM & Print Solutions, Evie Windows and R V Rugg Ltd.

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