Reflecting on the past year, we have achieved a lot. Almost exactly a year ago, we had just visited the foundry to see the full size mould, which our donations up until then had allowed us to commission (see picture, left). We had already decided to reduce the size of the scupture, from some three metres to about two metres in order to reduce the cost. We had about £1,000 in the account. This left us with some tens of thousands of pounds to raise in order to complete the project. Not an easy task at the best of times!
The beginning of 2022 was challenging, to say the least. Two years of pandemic (and counting) had taken their toll. A fairly recent evacuation of refugees from Afghanistan, tension on the Russia/Ukraine border, and an economic downturn all contributed. The prospect of raising a large amount of money seemed a bigger challenge. Then, Russia invaded Ukraine and suddenly there were millions of civilian victims of war being affected. Many were displaced, injured or killed. There, in front of us, almost in real time, was the true pity of war. Several strategic meetings with the sculptor later, we decided to keep a low profile while this humanitarian crisis was happening, out of respect for those so tragically involved.
Early in the year, we heard that an anonymous supporter was pledging £15,000 to our project. This was a major boost to our morale. It significantly reduced the amount we needed to raise. We approached Southern Marches Quakers (from whom the concern had originally arisen) to see if they could help. After deliberating about it, they came back with the incredibly generous offer of £10,000! Suddenly we were within reach of our target, only needing about £4,000 to achieve our goal. We were therefore able to be very positive with Andy Ansell, NMA Head of Estates, on our recent site visit. This visit was to choose a site for the memorial. We were lucky to have a sunny afternoon, and Andy warmly received us.
We now only need to raise about £4,000 to deliver this goal. We are confident that over the course of the next few months this should be achievable. This means that we could then move on to the next—and in our view, most important—phase. We will have a push to make the last few thousand for this stage in the process. Any help in this would be greatly appreciated!