100 years ago today, the world went mad when Britain declared war on Germany and so the 'war to end all wars' began.
One of the most thought provoking moments of our recent holiday up north was when we found 'Eleven '0' One', a nine and a half feet tall statue which graces the seafront at Seaham in County Durham. He depicts a lone soldier - nicknamed 'Tommy' by the locals who've taken them to their hearts - who's finally sat down to rest one minute after WW1 finished at 11am on 11th November 1918.
The detail in this corten steel statue is incredible. It was also amazing to see the response people had on seeing it - they were positively drawn to it. It shows the value we place on the peace we enjoy today and is a visible argument for the need to have great art in all communities. The residents of Seaham are now actively seeking to raise the £85,000 needed to keep Tommy on - via their Mission 1101 campaign - after his scheduled 3 month stay.
According to the latest online article I can find, they're not that far from meeting their target.
On the back of Tommy's crate, there's a plaque with a poem written by the sculptor:
"Now adrift in the wake of this glorious slaughter,
He'd seen many a soul cleansed in filthy water.
Seen godless souls reach out for the Bible,
As lead tore the flesh from both friend and rival.
Soon home to the joy and celebration of kin,
Drunken slaps on the back at a favourite inn.
But heavy in his pocket lies a small piece of card,
And the note written on it will break a mother's heart."
Eleven 'O' One
|I'm sure we'll be seeing much more from this artist|