Moving project will mark World War One Armstice Day in Wigan

Wigan Council has said it is taking part in a moving scheme to commemorate the dead of World War One after town halls were criticised for not getting involved.

Friday, 24th August 2018, 3:25 pm
Updated Friday, 24th August 2018, 3:30 pm
Some of the figures which will feature as part of the There But Not There commemorative campaign

General Lord Dannatt wrote to the national press lamenting the fact 250 local authorities across the country had not yet signed up for the There But Not There remembrance project.

In return for donations councils receive 6ft tall metal silhouettes of a Tommy soldier to be installed in public places across the country.

Wigan Council has now said the borough will be doing its bit for There But Not There.

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However, the sculptures installed in the borough will be slightly different and will not be bought in the way General Lord Dannatt suggested, instead coming from money set aside for armed forces projects.

John Harker, strategic manager for armed forces at Wigan Council, said: “We have been working extremely hard to commemorate the World War One centenary borough-wide and have received six There but not There bench silhouettes thanks to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund.

“These silhouettes, although not made from aluminium, will be installed near Wigan Parish Church ahead of Remembrance Sunday in November.

“Community groups and councillors have also been heavily involved in our work to install willow statues and benches, create memorial gardens and much more.”

Organisations and individuals in the borough have been working through the four years of World War One centenary commemorations to remember those who lost their lives between 1914 and 1918, with the local authority supporting the tributes throughout.

The council has also pledged its continuing support of those who have much more recently put their lives on the line for their country.

Coun Clive Morgan, lead member for armed forces, said: “We’re committed to supporting the armed forces community in Wigan borough and acknowledging the extreme bravery and sacrifice that veterans made for our country and its citizens.

“There are more than 22,000 veterans residing in our borough so this is an area we are extremely passionate about.

“Since 2014, we have been working closely with the community who have had the opportunity to bid for our World War One Commemoration Fund, which has funded activities and events borough-wide to pay tribute to our history and to teach younger generations.

“We will continue looking into the many different options available to us in order to continue to acknowledge this pivotal time in our history.”

There But Not There was launched in February as part of a drive to raise £15m for charities supporting the armed forces and tackling mental illnesses.

So far about 160 councils across the country have got involved in the scheme.

The metal sculptures depict the outline of a soldier holding a rifle with his head lowered.

More than 1,000 Tommy silhouettes have so far been sold in the UK and overseas, with statues heading out as far and wide as New York, San Francisco, Ottawa, Toronto and Gibraltar.