Town gives its thanks to army regiment

HANDOVER Matthew Crisp receives the miniature statue from FEMG honorary president Harold Groom
HANDOVER Matthew Crisp receives the miniature statue from FEMG honorary president Harold Groom

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A VALUABLE limited edition statue has been given to a regiment in recognition of its commitment to a town.

The Friends of Emsworth Memorial Garden (FEMG) wanted to mark their close relationship with 47 Regiment, based on Thorney Island.

The regiment attends the Armistice Day service at the memorial garden and parades through the historic town for St George’s Day.

Last summer a run of 99 miniature copies of Absence – the sculpture in the memorial garden – was commissioned by the sculptor Michael Johnson.

The seven-inch mini-sculptures of the outline of a First World War soldier carved inside a stainless steel sail are exact copies of the statue installed in Jubilee Park in 2006.

The first of the limited edition run was held back to give to 47 Regiment.

Virginia Wilson-Smith, FEMG chairwoman, said: ‘It was a very informal ceremony, which was what we wanted.

‘47 Regiment have been tremendously helpful to us, they collected money when we needed it for putting the memorial in place.

‘Over the years they have been a constant presence in the community in Emsworth.

‘We want to continue the good relationship and as a little sign of our appreciation, and as recognition of that, we gave them the first of 99 statues.

‘I’m sure it will be quite valuable in the future.’

The regiment’s Commanding Officer Matthew Crisp accepted the statue.

He said: ‘We’re very proud to have been part of the establishment of the memorial which is befitting of all those who have fallen in conflicts all over the world.

‘We’re also proud to be part of the various services held locally. It’s a reflection of the support we receive in the community which we feel very much part of.’

n To buy a statue, at £40, call Mrs Wilson-Smith on 01243 373744.