Halifax’s proud military past will be recognised in a new town centre memorial to the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.
The memorial is set to be installed in May next year in the Woolshops shopping centre, and its design was unveiled at a special event at the home of the Duke of Wellington in London this week.
World-class figurative sculptor Andrew Sinclair, who has previously taken on a commission for The Queen, has created the design, which will be 16ft tall and made of bronze.
He said: “To be selected as the sculptor for this incredibly prestigious memorial is a wonderful honour. Having a great fascination for military history, I am very much looking forward to delving into the longstanding past of the Regiment and creating a sculpture which commemorates its admirable spirit and the qualities of the Yorkshire soldier within the design.”
Arthur Charles Valerian Wellesley, 9th Duke of Wellington, said: “It was a great pleasure to host the reception at Apsley House to support the raising of £225,000 for the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment Memorial Appeal.
“To unveil Andrew Sinclair’s Maquette, which will sit in the heart of Halifax, home of the regiment for two centuries, was a fantastic moment for myself and the Regiment. To commemorate the three hundred illustrious years of the history of the Regiment is fantastic, and I wish the Regiment every success in their fundraising endeavours.”
The Mayor of Calderdale, Coun Ferman Ali, said: “The Regiment has a long and proud history in Calderdale and is an important part of our heritage. We know that local people hold the Regiment in very high regard, and as part of our commitment to the Armed Forces we are keen to continue the tradition of honouring our local soldiers and their families.
“The memorial will reinforce Calderdale’s place on the map as a heritage and cultural destination.”
Craig Whittaker MP (Con, Calder Valley) said: “I am fully supportive of this very fitting memorial to the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in Halifax. “The Regiment played a very important part in the history of the town and the wider Calderdale area for 200 years.
“The Regimental Museum is at Bankfield and I feel that this memorial will be a welcome addition to the culture and heritage of the town.”
Holly Lynch MP (Lab, Halifax) said: “The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment has had a long connection with Halifax and we welcome the opportunity to host a statue reflecting on the regiment’s history.
“It’s important that memorials like this focus our minds on those who have given their lives in service to our country so that my generation can know freedom and democracy.”
Steve Duncan DL, CEO of Community Foundation for Calderdale, said: “I have enjoyed supporting the Appeal through the Community Foundation and have been overwhelmed by the response from Foundation supporters to help fund what will be an amazing addition to the growing attractions for Calderdale residents and visitors in Halifax.
“Many people in Calderdale and Yorkshire have connections with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and it’s important those that paid the ultimate sacrifice or served in any way are not forgotten. Having seen the model of the memorial it truly is a fitting tribute to the Regiment.”
The Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Association decided to site the memorial in Halifax, then asked Calderdale Council for input on it. Originally some Officers had wanted to site it in the National Arboretum, but the ordinary members quickly made it know that would not be acceptable.
To complete the memorial, a further £150,000 needs to be raised to reach the target of £225,000. To donate to the appeal, go to www.memorial.dwr.org.uk/#donate. If you have a relative from Calderdale that served with the regiment, we’d love to share your stories, so get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.