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Ripon is commemorating World War One in the most poignant way

Ripon is commemorating World War One in the most poignant way

Published by Lisa Darvill at 7:03am 16th October 2018.

Something very special is happening in Ripon at the moment, as the community comes together to commemorate the end of World War One. 

Residents, businesses and organisations have been busy knitting poppies which are starting to be displayed around the city. The Ripon Community Poppy Project hopes to have all of the poppies in place by the end of the month. 

ripon poppy

 

ripon poppy

 

ripon poppy

 

Caroline Bentham, from Sun Parlour Cafe, is part of the project.

She told Stray FM:

"The poppy project was started up by Stuart Martin, who got a team of helpers around him including Hazel Barker, with three aims. 

"The first was for Ripon to remember the First World War in a big and respectful way. The second was to bring the community together to do this and the third thing was to increase footfall into Ripon. So all those things together evolved into the Ripon Community Poppy Project."

As well as poppies, a number of sculptures of soldiers have also been installed. 

Designed by local artists Jeanne Mundy, Joe Priestley and Dan Metcalfe, the trail of 14 six foot high steel silhouette soldiers have been installed at significant locations around the city to commemorate the servicemen and women who died in the war, and those who returned from the front.

Fixed in place by local volunteers, the steel sculptures were produced at the Econ Engineering factory in Ripon, and the firm also donated the steel from which the soldiers’ striking silhouettes were precision cut.

Econ Engineering managing director Andrew Lupton said:

“As Ripon’s largest employer we were really proud to be able to help bring this incredibly imaginative art project, commemorating the end of World War I in the city, to life.

“Although it’s more usually used in the high-tech manufacturing process of Econ gritters and hot boxes, our super-size laser cutter, which enables precision cutting of sheets of metal up to 60 sq m, was perfect for creating the sculptures of the soldiers. It took us under two weeks to cut out all 14 of the figures from the sheets of relatively malleable ‘mild’ steel.”

The city has strong First World War links: between 1914 and 1918 some 350,000 troops were stationed at Ripon Camp for training, while thousands more injured soldiers were treated in the city’s 670-bed military hospital.

The individual figures include the silhouette of a lancer leading his horse, a nurse guiding a blinded soldier and a soldier with his gun lowered and his helmet off.

Dan Metcalfe, one of the artists involved in the design of the sculptures, said:

“We wanted to broaden the focus as much as possible to make the whole installation very inclusive. We took inspiration from many different sources including an engraving on Royal Lancers regimental silverware at Catterick and the John Singer Sargent painting, ‘Gassed’.

“It was important that we focused on the sacrifice of the servicemen and women who returned from the war as well as those who died on the battlefield, and we have installed several figures at Sharow, where the British Legion’s Lister House provided care and rehabilitation for ex-service people.”

He added:

“The whole project has proved to be really important for Ripon as a community and we couldn’t have done it without Econ. They donated the materials, the manpower and their own time and have been brilliant throughout.”

 

ripom sculpture
One of the sculptures created as part of the project 

 

The project also involves an installation at Ripon Cathedral. On 8th November there'll be a remembrance concert at the cathedral. 

You can find out more about the project by searching Ripon Community Poppy Project on Facebook