An art installation in a small Kent church has inspired a national movement that has seen silhouette soldiers pop up across the county.
There But Not There has seen a number of 6ft tall, aluminium 'Tommy' figures appear at locations nationwide this week.
This latest installation aims to place a representative figure for as many names on local war memorials around the country as possible, into their place of worship, their school, their workplace or wherever their absence was keenly felt.
The transparent silhouettes, which stand with their head bowed, rifle in hand, and with a poppy on the chest, will be back within their communities by November and the centenary commemoration of the end of the war.
Other figures have been seen in at the Tower of London, on Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, at Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, South Wales and at Heart of Midlothian football club in Edinburgh.
A poignant reminder of the 888,246 British and Commonwealth soldiers who died and of those who survived but suffered physical and mental scars, the silhouettes will tour the nation until Armistice Day to raise funds for a new charity called Remembered. The aim is to raise £15million for Armed Forces and mental health charities
The campaign is being led by former British Army officer Lord Dannatt, who said: "The poppies at the Tower of London captured the start of the national WWI commemoration – There But Not There will be the abiding concluding image."
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby added: "I do commend this creative and imaginative project very warmly. I hope that many churches will want to engage with this during this next year.
"As we commemorate the end of the First World War it is vital that we remember and this project allows us to do so in a way that will engage with the imagination and be a real exercise in remembrance."
‘There but not There’
The project aims to Commemorate, Educate and Heal. The project itself is the commemoration and there will be a comprehensive school education programme designed to bring to life and create an understanding and respect for the reasons why so many lost their lives during this time. Funds raised from the sale of their Tommies will contribute directly to the work carried out by their beneficiary charities below. The Tommies and their commemorative packaging are made by the Royal British Legion Industries, appropriately, by ex-Service Veterans employed by RBLI.
'In buying the Tommies and silhouettes, people are not only commemorating the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers, they are also supporting the veterans of today, with all profits going to charities supporting the armed forces community.'
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