St Margaret’s Church in Bodelwyddan, known as the Marble Church, has become the first organisation in Wales to host a stirring silhouette installation to commemorate over 100 First World War casualties buried in the church grounds.
The 10 silhouettes, made of Perspex and two life-size Tommy figures have been installed by the campaign There But Not There and will be open to the public until November.
St Margaret’s has a deep-rooted connection with the war, with over 100 servicemen – including more than 80 Canadian troops – buried in its grounds.
Canon Ian Day, Vicar of St Margaret’s Church, said: “Our church’s links with the First World War are renowned. As we commemorate those who fell one hundred years ago, There But Not There provides a truly touching medium for people to reflect on the sacrifice that was made. We hope that other community groups and places of worship follow in our footsteps, and that people visit St Margaret’s throughout the year to see our silhouettes.”
The silhouettes are available to other churches, community groups and organisations. The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has made £2 million available in micro grants for groups to purchase 10 silhouettes each. St Margaret’s is one of the pilot locations for the grant. Other groups wishing to follow suit will be able to apply between the 1st and 30th of June.
Dino Bossi, Trustee of There But Not There and former Commanding Officer of the Welsh Guards, said: “The money made available by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust will be an enormous help in getting more communities involved in the campaign. For those that might not be able to afford these striking silhouettes, the help is now available to ensure that as many people as possible can remember those local men who never returned a century ago.”
The silhouettes have been designed by conceptual photographer and installation artist Martin Barraud, who first created the Perspex men representing the Fallen in Penshurst Church in Kent two years ago.
Just eight weeks ago, There But Not There launched at Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon – alongside other iconic locations in the UK – to promote the sale of 10 inch Perspex ‘Tommy’ statues. In that time, the campaign has raised £1.8 million for a consortium of military and mental health charities, selling over 60,000 Tommies.
For more information relating to There But Not There or to see how you could get involved in holding your own installation, visit: www.therebutnotthere.org.uk