Press And Media Section – Our Press Releases

With special Thanks to Dave Tyler from Guru Communications (www.gurucomms.co.uk)  for his help and assistance with our Press Releases.

06.02.2011 

‘The Abandoned Soldier’ – symbol of suffering ex-servicemen – to be on display in the Welsh capital

.Cardiff Castle’s Firing Line Museum offers a temporary home for ‘Controversial’ sculpture
.Charities welcome the move and hope to raise awareness of their causes

The Abandoned Soldier Statue (see background below) will be leaving the National Memorial Arboretum on Thursday 10th of February and will arrive at Cardiff Castle at 4pm. The move will be filmed by a crew from Service Broadcaster BFBS and they will follow members from 47 Air Dispatch Squadron RLC and sculptor James Napier as they move TAS to the Firing Line Museum at Cardiff Castle.

This is now the second temporary home for the statue in 4 months and it is hoped that its stay at Cardiff will help raise awareness of the issues so many ex- and serving servicemen and women are facing, with many suffering from combat related PTSD which often leads to drink/drug related problems, homelessness and even prison. It is also hoped that the project can raise enough money to get the statue bronzed and find it a permanent home.

The Abandoned Soldier Project has teamed up with several service-related charities that include S.O.T.S (Soldiers off the Street) V.I.P.A (Veterans In Prison) Talking2Minds and Welsh based Healing The Wounds. It is hoped that the Statue will be used as a much needed signpost to these services. Representatives from some of these Charities will be at the installation and will be available for interview.

The ‘Abandoned Soldier’ statue, modelled on the face of a British ex-soldier, was originally created for a 2007 BBC TV programme made by journalist Tim Samuels as part of the 3-part series ‘Power to the People’, which aimed to give a voice to various disenfranchised groups. ‘The Battle of Trafalgar Square’ saw a ‘platoon’ of ex-servicemen – many with shocking and moving stories to tell – install the striking sculpture in front of Nelson’s Column.

After the programme, TAS made an appearance on News night and the front page of the Independent.

TAS was found a home at Combat Stress’s Tyrwhitt House but this was short-lived and TAS returned to James Napier’s London Art Studio where it remained until plans to find it a permanent home and raise awareness were re-ignited when Welsh ex serviceman and Poet Mark Christmas approached James to ask if he could use the image for his book of poetry ,also called The Abandoned Soldier.

Mark and James decided that it was time TAS came out of the Cellar and planned its move to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire in time for the book launch.

Since its arrival at the NMA the project have been tirelessly raising awareness of the statue and what it represents. It has appeared in the Independent On Sunday, Central News and various radio programmes.

The project also has a growing number of supporters with over 1,000 on their Face book group.

Among supporters is Maj-Gen Tim Cross CBE, who recently came out in support of the campaign, saying: “The Abandoned Soldier Project is a wonderful example of a determination by those who do care to do something about those who desperately need hope, love and restoration. I commend it unreservedly.”

* EDIT*  BFBS Pulled out of filming the day before the move and “Healing The Wounds” showed an interest in coming along and being part of the project but didn’t show up nor have they been in contact since. We can only assume they don’t want to become part of our Network.

3rd November 2010

Controversial ‘Abandoned Soldier’ sculpture is installed at the NMA, just in time for book/campaign launch 

*Sculpture to commemorate forgotten veterans installed by serving soldiers at National Memorial Arboretum
*Poetry book launch aims to reignite debate and help those physically and mentally scarred in recent conflicts

After weeks of uncertainty, the ‘Abandoned Soldier’ statue has been safely transported to its temporary home at Staffordshire’s National Memorial Arboretum (NMA). Those who moved it are members of 55 Off Platform Repair Company, part of 104 Force Support Battalion REME based in Tidworth. They managed the transportation of the 15-foot tall sculpture from London to the NMA at Alrewas, Staffs., where it will be on display during the launch of the poetry book of the same name on November 6th.

The ‘Abandoned Soldier’ statue, modelled on the face of a British ex-soldier, was originally created for a 2007 BBC TV programme made by journalist Tim Samuels as part of the 3-part series ‘Power to the People’, which aimed to give a voice to various disenfranchised groups. ‘The Battle of Trafalgar Square’ saw a ‘platoon’ of ex-servicemen – many with shocking and moving stories to tell – install the striking sculpture in front of Nelson’s Column.

Now three years on, the statue which symbolises the forgotten servicemen of recent conflicts is in danger of itself being forgotten and falling into neglect. London-based sculptor James Napier says: “The sculpture was cast in resin which is already deteriorating, and unless we can raise funds to have it bronzed, it will eventually simply fade away. The symbolism is tragic.” The Abandoned Soldier project www.theabandonedsoldier.com has been founded to raise the funds needed to make the statue permanent.

It is hoped that the project will become a rallying point for individuals and organisations involved with post-combat stress, homelessness and the many other issues affecting servicemen and ex-servicemen. A number of charities have already expressed interest in working with the project.

Eirwen Rogers, one of the organisers of the campaign to have the ‘Abandoned Soldier’ statue bronzed for posterity and permanently installed at the National Memorial Arboretum, commented on the difficulties of finding a permanent home for the memorial: “Logically this statue belongs at the NMA, but because it is a memorial to the living, it is considered controversial by some so we have to address these issues by gauging public opinion. I’m delighted that it will be here for the launch of the accompanying book of poetry, but beyond that time its future is uncertain – much like that of the servicemen it represents.”

Major-General Tim Cross CBE recently came out in support of the campaign, saying: “The ‘Abandoned Soldier’ Project is a wonderful example of a determination by those who do care to do something about those who desperately need hope, love and restoration. I commend it unreservedly.”

20.10.2010

Major-General Tim Cross CBE weighs in on behalf of Abandoned Soldiers everywhere
* Outspoken critic of government military policy backs ‘Abandoned Soldier’ campaign
* Sculpture created to highlight plight of forgotten veterans is itself decaying and forgotten
* Poetry book launch aims to reignite debate and help those physically and mentally scarred in recent conflicts

The ‘Abandoned Soldier’ campaign, centred on the controversial sculpture which may or may not be housed at Staffordshire’s National Memorial Arboretum (see below) received a boost when acclaimed military expert Major General Tim Cross CBE (retired) spoke out in its support. Cross was the most senior British officer involved in post-war planning after the Iraq war, and has been outspoken in his criticisms of US and UK foreign policy. 

“There can’t be many people around who aren’t keenly aware of the sacrifices that our young men and women have made, and still are making in places like Iraq and Afghanistan,” commented Major-General Cross. “For most of us the obvious scars are the returning coffins, and the stories and pictures of the lost limbs and the physical rehabilitation that goes on. What is less obvious are the mental, psychological and spiritual scars borne by many who, on the face of it, return unharmed but who carry deep inside the hurt and pain of what they have seen and heard; all too often they are the forgotten casualties. Struggling to come to terms with all that they have endured, some are locked in loneliness and depression; they too need our care and commitment.”

The ‘Abandoned Soldier’ statue, modelled on the face of a British ex-soldier, was originally created for a 2007 BBC TV programme made by journalist Tim Samuels as part of the 3-part series ‘Power to the People’, which aimed to give a voice to various disenfranchised groups. ‘The Battle of Trafalgar Square’ saw a ‘platoon’ of ex-servicemen – many with shocking and moving stories to tell – install the striking sculpture in front of Nelson’s Column.

Now three years on, the statue which symbolises the forgotten servicemen of recent conflicts is in danger of itself being forgotten and falling into neglect. London-based sculptor James Napier says: “The sculpture was cast in resin which is already deteriorating, and unless we can raise funds to have it bronzed, it will eventually simply fade away. The symbolism is tragic.” The Abandoned Soldier project www.theabandonedsoldier.com has been founded to raise the funds needed to make the statue permanent.

It is hoped that the project will become a rallying point for individuals and organisations involved with post-combat stress, homelessness and the many other issues affecting servicemen and ex-servicemen. A number of charities have already expressed interest in working with the project.

Eirwen Rogers, one of the organisers of the campaign to have the ‘Abandoned Soldier’ statue bronzed for posterity and permanently installed at the National Memorial Arboretum, commented on the difficulties of finding a permanent home for a memorial that potentially embarrasses the authorities: “This statue belongs at the NMA, but because it is a memorial to the living, it is considered controversial. We will have it here for the launch of the accompanying book of poetry, but beyond that time its future is uncertain – much like that of the servicemen it represents. At the moment we can’t even get a definite commitment on how the statue will be transported to the site!”

It is hoped that the addition of Major-General Cross’s support will galvanise some commitment to action and hopefully also increase public awareness of the campaign. Cross himself concludes “The ‘Abandoned Soldier’ Project is a wonderful example of a determination by those who do care to do something about those who desperately need hope, love and restoration. I commend it unreservedly.”

30/08/2010:

Three years on, the ‘Abandoned Soldier’ is still without a home
* New book of poetry aims to reignite debate and help those physically and mentally scarred in recent conflicts
* Sculpture created to highlight plight of forgotten veterans is itself decaying and forgotten
A new book of poetry is to be launched at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA), Alrewas, Staffs, on November 6th 2010 to publicise the plight of servicemen who have been forgotten by the society that should be caring for them. ‘The Abandoned Soldier’ by Llandrindod Wells based Mark Christmas takes its name from the controversial statue which in 2007 was temporarily installed in a ‘guerilla action’ near Nelson’s Column in London. Mark Christmas is himself an ex-serviceman and Psychology student says ‘Abandonment is one of the worst words in the dictionary when you are involved with it in any context. Remember the dead, let the living not be forsaken in your memory’ 

The statue will be on display at the NMA leading up to the book launch, but it too faces an uncertain future. London based sculptor James Napier says: “The sculpture was cast in resin which is already deteriorating, and unless we can raise funds to have it bronzed, it will eventually simply fade away. The symbolism is tragic.” The Abandoned Soldier project www.theabandonedsoldier.com has been founded to raise the funds needed (approximately £75,000) to make the statue permanent.

It is hoped that the project will become a rallying point for individuals and organisations involved with post-combat stress, homelessness and the many other issues affecting servicemen and ex-servicemen. A number of charities have already expressed interest in working with the project.

The ‘Abandoned Soldier’ statue, modelled on the face of a British ex-soldier, was originally created for a 2007 BBC TV programme made by journalist Tim Samuels as part of the 3-part series ‘Power to the People’, which aimed to give a voice to various disenfranchised groups. ‘The Battle of Trafalgar Square’ saw a ‘platoon’ of ex-servicemen – many with shocking and moving stories to tell – install the striking sculpture in front of Nelson’s Column.

Now three years on, the statue which symbolises the forgotten servicemen of recent conflicts is in danger of itself being forgotten and falling into neglect. Eirwen Rogers, one of the organisers of the campaign to have the ‘Abandoned Soldier’ statue bronzed for posterity and permanently installed at the NMA, commented: “The motto of the National Memorial Arboretum is ‘where our nation remembers’ – and there is no question that we are very good at remembering our military dead. But there are an increasing number of ex-services personnel on the streets of the UK who we choose, as a society, to forget. These are all abandoned soldiers, sailors and airmen. A permanent reminder of their situation will serve as a prompt for our political leaders to support these people as they have promised to do so many times – but so often singularly failed to deliver.”

Advance copies of Mark Christmas’ book of poems, ‘The Abandoned Soldier’ are available now from Silverwood Publishing

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