War Horse bookcase for the World War 1 Trail in Bury St Edmunds

The dedication, resilience and bravery of the role of the horse in the First World War is immortalised with a piece of art for the World War 1 Trail in Bury St Edmunds.

For a 110cm x 110cm plywood bookcase has been created by Michelle Freeman of the young art group Crafty Foxes and is set to be displayed in the front window of stationers and art shop Denny Bros, on the corner of Kings Road and St Andrew’s Street South.

It is another of the pieces for the trail being organised by the My WiSH Charity and Our Bury St Edmunds, the business improvement district (BID) in the town.

Over eight million horses, used to transport ammunition and supplies to the front line, died during the conflict. Many died, not only from the horrors of shellfire, but also as a result of the terrible weather and appalling conditions.

And the link between Michelle and Denny Bros, which is sponsoring the horse bookcase, is also significant as she runs her Crafty Foxes art classes from the store which during the First World War was used to stable horses and in April 1915 much of the building was destroyed with the first Zeppelin air raid on the town. Only a dog died in the attack.

The building was James Pettitt’s stables and an incendiary bomb caused a fire which left the three-storey building roofless. It was re-roofed on two storeys.

A Pvt P O Bass, billeted at the nearby Everard’s Tap, broke the stables door down and rescued the four army horses inside.

A blue plaque is positioned on the wall to note the event and Michelle said: “I was given a brief to create an animal and went for something practical which has a good sell on value and it was a joy to create.

“It’s a bespoke piece of furniture … a hand made, child’s horse bookcase and took me eight days to create.”

Meanwhile, Joy Denny, the managing director at the shop, said: “It’s good for us to be linked to the horse because of the history surrounding the building as it housed horses during the war and was hit by a Zeppelin and the fact that Michelle’s Crafty Foxes operate out of the building.”

The trail will feature 18 pieces, commissioned by local artists and sculptors, 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 all of the pieces to go to the My WiSH Charity’s Every Heart Matters appeal.

The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is investing £5.2m in developing a state of the art cardiac suite that will provide quicker access to more treatments, 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.

Treatt, the leading beverage ingredient solutions manufacturer based in Bury St Edmunds, will be the main sponsor for the trail, and Daemmon Reeve, group CEO, said:  “It’s fantastic to be able to support this ambitious and exciting project which remembers the bravery of those who fought in World War One and is also helping to raise the £500,000 needed to fund the brand new cardiac centre at the hospital.”

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.

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