The close working relationship between a Bury St Edmunds artist and the Suffolk Regiment Museum has resulted in the launch of the Trailblazer for the town’s World War 1 Trail.
Artist Trudi Edmunds was at the museum in Out Risbygate yesterday to dislay her poignant piece of art … a metal bicycle sculpture which depicts the Suffolk Cycling Battalion.
And her work has particular significance to her as her great, great uncle Edward Edmunds was a member of the battalion and served in the Great War which claimed his life when he was 20 years old.
He served in the 9th Battalion Suffolk Regiment and went to France with them on August 31, 1915. He was transferred to the 11th Battalion the Essex Regiment and won the Military Medal, an award presented for bravery in battle. Later, while fighting in France he was injured at the Battle of the Somme and was repatriated to the Edinburgh War Hospital where he was treated for gas poisoning and burns. He died in the hospital on October 15, 1918, a month short of the end of the conflict and his body was returned to his home in Eastbridge, near Leiston.
His grave is situated in his home village and Trudi, who runs her decorative arts business and art classes from her home in The Klondyke involved 10 of her young students in her sculpture who have made the metal poppies which spring out of the work.
Key to her research into the work was the link she formed with the museum and the help they gave her as she sought to find out more about her great great uncle.
“When I did my research I wanted to do something that was new and fresh that nobody knew about rather than some of the images you get of the war. And when I found I had a great great uncle in the conflict the people at the museum were so helpful. It’s so nice that we can remember him in this way.”
She also presented a cap badge of the Suffolk Cycling Corps to the museum.
Gwyn Thomas, the honourary curator, said: “It was a bit like a jigsaw piecing all the elements together to find out information but we got the story together and Trudi was very happy with what I was able to find and she had a family study about him which confirmed what I had found so she was able to piece together what he had done in the war.”
It will be positioned in the Abbey Gardens but prior to that will be on display at the Chelmer Fine Art gallery, in The Traverse, from today to June 8, and then the Gallery Highwaymans, in Risby, from June 8 to July 8.
Now plans are being made to launch the World War 1 Trail which is being organised by the My WiSH Charity, which is aiming to raise £500,000 for its Every Heart Matters appeal for a new cardiac unit at the West Suffolk Hospital, and Our Bury St Edmunds, the business improvement district (BID) in the town.
It is being sponsored by Treatt, the leading beverage ingredient solutions manufacturer based in Bury St Edmunds, and will feature 18 pieces dotted in prime town centre sites and will be on show from July 21, through to Armistice Day, on November 11. At the culmination of the trail an auction will take place to sell off the pieces to go to the appeal.
If you want to support the Every Heart Matters appeal go to the websitewww.mywishcharity.co.uk and if you would like to donate to the appeal you can do so by going to: Justgiving.com/ehma or text EHMA17 £10 to 70070.