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World War 1 centenary art trail is formally opened in Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 22:00 21 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:22 23 July 2018

Margaret Marks, the mayor of St Edmunds, with organisers, artists and supporters at the start of the World War 1 Trail in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

Margaret Marks, the mayor of St Edmunds, with organisers, artists and supporters at the start of the World War 1 Trail in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

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Artists, organisers, supporters and the mayor of St Edmundsbury gathered today for the formal opening of the World War 1 Trail, in Bury St Edmunds.

Margaret Marks, the mayor of St Edmundsbury, with Den Humphrey, who created the serpentine trench which is in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: RUSSELL COOKMargaret Marks, the mayor of St Edmundsbury, with Den Humphrey, who created the serpentine trench which is in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

Margaret Marks linked up with the artists, representatives of the My WiSH Charity and Our Bury St Edmunds, the organisers of the trail, and trail sponsors Treatt, by the Serpentine Trench, in the Abbey Gardens.

And there was also a poignant moment for a family from Newmarket who gathered for the occasion.

Former West Suffolk Hospital heart patient Janet Bedford, 79, turned up with her two daughters Tracy Porter and Tina Bedford to show their surprised mother a wooden poppy on the trench dedicated to her husband Bill, who died in November 2011, aged 79.

His funeral services was held at 11am, on November 11, 2011, and the family wear special poppies every year to remember him.

Janet Bedford with her daughters Tracy Porter, left, and Tina Bedford, right, at the start of the World War 1 Trail in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: RUSSELL COOKJanet Bedford with her daughters Tracy Porter, left, and Tina Bedford, right, at the start of the World War 1 Trail in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

Janet said: “My daughters are so wonderful ... they are the best,” she said.

There are 18 pieces of artwork to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the 1914-1918 conflict and have been put in various locations, including the Abbey Gardens, St Edmundsbury Cathedral, St John’s Church, the Arc Shopping Centre, Langton Place, LP Bar, Denny Bros, Beautiful Beers, Greene King Beer Cafe, Market Thoroughfare, St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Greene King, The Guildhall, Moyses Hall and Angel Hill.

The varied pieces of work include a tank, a wooden cross, a colourful and imaginative camel, a stained glass window, a serpentine trench, an oak book, a line of decorated handkerchiefs, a Zeppelin, peace bells, a trench, a wooden cross, a Victoria Cross and others.

There is also a bike to commemororate the Suffolk Cycling Battalion which was the trailblazer for the initiative.

Peter Dabrowa with his two-year-old son Alby who are planning to walk round the World War 1 Trail in Bury St Edmund. Picture: RUSSELL COOKPeter Dabrowa with his two-year-old son Alby who are planning to walk round the World War 1 Trail in Bury St Edmund. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

The trail is being organised by Our Bury St Edmunds and the My WiSH Charity with funds raised going to the charity’s Every Heart Matters appeal.

It is aiming to raise £500,000 to help create a fully integrated cardiac centre at the West Suffolk Hospital and runs from today until Armistice Day, November 11, with an auction taking place to sell off all of the pieces to go to the appeal with a competition also being organised for people to find the displays in the town.

The mayor said: “The thoughtful thinking that has gone into the trail by the artists is incredible and every piece is so different. The whole thing resonates and it really tugs at the heart strings.

“What a way to commemorate the end of the war and at the same time raise money for the My WiSH Charity. It is an amazing tribute to those who lost their lives in the conflict.”

World War 1 Trail logoWorld War 1 Trail logo

Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill, who was due to attend but was unable to, said: “This trail exhibits a fantastic coming together of local artists, businesses and charities from across Bury St Edmunds. All 18 pieces are absolutely stunning and beautifully commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1.

“I commend all who gave their time to put this together and I urge locals and visitors to follow the trail, in support of the excellent MyWiSH Charity.”

The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is investing £5.2m in developing a state of the art cardiac suite but the £500,000 My WiSH Charity is hoping to raise will lead to the whole unit, which is currently fragmented on different floors, being brought together in one purpose-built centre.

For more information, including where to get your trail map, go to www.mywishcharity.co.uk and to donate go to Justgiving.com/ehma or text EHMA17 £10 to 70070.

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