Lancashire takes lead in WW1 campaign

Lancashire has become the first partner county to pledge its support to There But Not There, a new fundraising campaign striving to raise in excess of £15 million for armed forces and mental health charities.

The six-foot-high Tommies are part of a nationwide art installation called ‘There But Not There’ marking the centenary of the end of the First World War. Over the coming week three Tommy figures will be unveiled around Lancashire in iconic locations: Lancaster Castle, Preston railway station and in the ‘Accrington Pals’ chapel of St John The Evangelist Church in Accrington. The Tommies will encourage locals to buy their own 10-inch versions to remember their relatives who fell 100 years ago.

The money raised from the sale of these commemorative figures, which are made by military veterans, will be distributed evenly between The Royal Foundation, Help for Heroes, Walking With The Wounded, Combat Stress, The Commonwealth War Graves Foundation and Project Equinox: Housing Veterans.

As the first There But Not There county partner, The High Sheriff of Lancashire Anthony Attard OBE DL is also spearheading a committee formed of local business, ecclesiastical and civic leaders to drive donations and local community support. Businesses have the opportunity to purchase their own six-foot Tommy figures with all proceeds going to related charities.

The Tommies captured the public’s attention when revealed at the Tower of London, on Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland, at Big Pit National Coal Museum in Wales and at Heart of Midlothian Football Club in Scotland earlier this year. The campaign raised £1 million in the first 24 hours, a figure which continues to rise.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Shuttleworth said: “The There But Not There campaign is a hugely worthwhile cause, honouring those men – local and afar – who made the ultimate sacrifice and raising money for those in need today. We want the whole community to show their support for the charity and encourage businesses to get on board during this important year of commemoration.”

Alongside the touring Tommies, local community groups, such as schools, businesses, places of worship and village halls will be given the opportunity to host their own ‘silhouette installations’.

The silhouettes, different in shape to the standing Tommy, are designed to fit into seated spaces and were inspired by an art installation created by Martin Barraud at Penshurst Church in Kent in 2016. The installation at Penshurst Church included 51 silhouettes, one for each name on the local Penshurst war memorial.

It is hoped that communities will honour the fallen listed on their own local war memorials, by placing a silhouette for every man that fell in local community spaces.

There But Not There Patron, Lord Dannatt said: “Our hope is that more regional organisations across the UK will follow in the footsteps of Lancashire County Council. Their commitment to the There But Not There campaign is vital in securing support and raising funds across the county.”

He continued: “We would encourage all Lancastrians to visit the local Tommy installations, galvanise support in their community groups to buy silhouettes and purchase their own smaller Tommies to remember their fallen relatives.

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  #therebutnotthere

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