Featherstone Town Council (FTC) were awarded a WREN grant to deliver its First World War Commemorative commission ‘War Horse’, designed by Bristol – based artists Codsteaks, at Mill Pond Meadows in the town.

 

Beam has worked closely with FTC since 2015 on the project and, guided by a community steering group, has managed the commissioning process and fundraising.

The World War I memorial titled ‘War Horse, A Place of Peace To Be Together’ was supported with a £50,000 grant from funding body WREN.

The money, awarded by WREN’s FCC Community Action Fund, was used to support the creation of the new memorial sculpture designed by artists Cod Steaks at the Mill Pond Meadows Nature Reserve.

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Former Mayor of Featherstone, Councillor Margaret Isherwood believes the memorial will make a huge difference to the lives of people living in the area.

She says: “This project will provide a real boost to the people of Featherstone. It’s fantastic that WREN has awarded us this money and we’re really looking forward to the sculpture taking shape over the next 12 months.

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.

Penny Horne, WREN’s grant manager for Yorkshire, says: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Featherstone War Horse Memorial project and pleased our funding will provide such an exquisite, meaningful piece of art for the people in Featherstone and the surrounding area to enjoy. WREN is always happy to consider grant applications for projects that make a difference to local communities.”

The memorial was installed in Spring 2018.

The origins of the idea for this project stem from a research project 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 stands majestically in Mill Pond Meadows as a proud testimony to local heroes whose lives were lost in WW1. Moreover it will mark a sense of place in the meadow where people are drawn to meet, spend time in reflection or simply to enjoy the artwork and surroundings. A successful application to Arts Council England also funded a period of community engagement with local schools and residents.

The Town Council would like to thank Wakefield Council for all the help and support they have given to assist with the application, Beam for their assistance throughout the project so far, all the local schoolchildren for the enthusiastic work that they have put into the project and also local residents who have given their wholehearted support.

Special thanks also to Roger Parkinson, local tree warden, without whose help and support the commemorative wood project may never have got off the ground.  Also the volunteers who assisted on the Public Art Steering Group, Tony Lumb (local historian) Colin Williamson (Friends of Millpond Meadows) and Derek Buckingham (Friends of Millpond Meadows) who unfortunately passed away before he could see the completion of the project, but his contribution will always be remembered.

Finally, but by no means least we wish to thank the team from Cod Steaks for working closely with the Public Art Steering Group to bring this vision to life.

Image Credit: Codsteaks

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