Date issued: 19 December 2018
An auction of five life-size willow figures, which formed part of Colchester Borough Council’s spectacular centenary tribute to the fallen of World War One, has raised £800 for the Royal British Legion.
The hugely popular and widely celebrated floral sculpture stood proudly in front of Colchester Castle from late June until it was dismantled in mid-November.
Over five months, thousands of sightseers enjoyed the colourful and poignant tribute, which symbolised the town’s important role during the First World War. The stunning attraction, planted with over 9,000 carpet bedding plants, won widespread praise and even attracted national media attention.
The living memorial, featuring a three-dimensional tank and figures created by Suffolk-based willow sculptor Jo Hammond, was co-conceived and built in partnership with idVerde and inspired by a real Mark IV tank given to the town as a war trophy and displayed on the west side of the Castle until the 1930s.
The public was invited to own a piece of the historic display by submitting a sealed bid for one or more of the willow figures. The winning bids varied from £100 to £350.
Cllr Tina Bourne, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to find permanent homes for the stunning and evocative willow sculptures, and that their sale raised such a large sum for the Royal British Legion.
“Many thanks, once again, to everyone involved in creating such a memorable tribute to the local men and women who served and died for our freedom a century ago, and to everyone who bid in the auction.”
The Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Peter Chillingworth, added: “I am incredibly proud of the many imaginative and unforgettable ways Colchester chose to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice – and our hauntingly beautiful and iconic tank display was no exception.
“It was entirely fitting that the money raised from the auction should benefit the Royal British Legion and the work it does to honour and support former servicemen and women, to whom we all owe a huge debt of gratitude.”