The Statue of Wilfred Owen
The statue was unveiled at 11:00 by the Mayor of Oswestry, Councillor Sandy Best, Sir. Algernon Heber-Percy KCVO, Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, and Mr. Rhoderick Swire, the incumbent High Sheriff of Shropshire. The estimated total number of people in attendance, including members of Wilfred's family, representatives from Army Regiments affiliated with Wilfred Owen, the Town Clerk and other Town Councillors, was in the hundreds.
Commissioned by Oswestry Town Council, the statue was designed by local artist and graduate of Oswestry School and the Royal College of Art, Mr. Tim Turner; it was then cast by Castle Fine Arts Foundry of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant. Some of the words on the paper were penned by Wilfred himself but chosen by primary school children, while others were from poems written by students from local secondary schools and the Derwen College.
The ceremony began with a speech from the Mayor, Councillor Sandy Best, followed by a soprano adaptation of Wilfred's 'Written in a Wood' by Ms. Natasha Day, a speech by Mr. Chris Woods, the Festival Organiser, a violin performance of 'The Somme' by Mr. Thoren Ferguson and, following the unveiling, a blessing was given by the Vicar of Oswestry, Rvd. Harvey Gibbons. The ceremony concluded with a reading of Wilfred's 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', spoken by Mr. Dave Andrews, reader- and writer-in-residence at Oswestry Library; there then followed the Last Post and a minute's silence.
For those who do not know who Wilfred Owen is, he was born at Plas Wilmot, Oswestry, in 1893. When Wilfred was four years of age, in 1897, he and his family moved to Birkenhead, Cheshire, where he grew up. Wilfred joined The Artists Rifles in 1915, which at the time was part of the Officer Training Corps and is now the 21st Special Air Service Regiment (Artists) (Reserve). Wilfred sadly lost his life on the 4th of November, 1918, during the crossing of the Sambre-Oise Canal, exactly one week before the signing of the Armistice.
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