Guinea Pig Club Memorial unveiling and PMSA award this week.
A busy and exciting week is in store. Following it’s installation last week, The Guinea Pig Club memorial that I have been working on for a while is being unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum on Wednesday by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh while later that day I will be travelling to London for the PMSA (Public Memorial and Sculpture Association) Marsh Awards for Excellence for creating the Naval Service Memorial, also at The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
The Guinea Pig Memorial pays tribute to the 649 members, of which there are only 23 still with us, of the the club that was formed mainly by 2nd World War Airmen who had suffered horrific burns to their faces and hands. The group were treated for their injuries at an East Grinstead Hospital by skilful pioneering plastic surgeon Sir Archibald MacIndoe and his team. The memorial, carved in Cumbrian Slate stands over 2m high. It’s shape is inspired by a Spitfire wing but also by the negative facial profile of the famous plastic surgeon, traced on the main face by a carved image of a crashing Hurricane aeroplane. Also on the main face are details of the history of the club with their logo. The Memorial will be dedicated by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at a service at The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on Wednesday, the service will also be attended by a number of original Guinea Pig Club members.
Also on Wednesday is the presentation of the PMSA Marsh Awards for excellence in Public Art. The Naval Service Memorial that I created has been shortlisted for the award along with 9 other works sited throughout the UK. It is a memorial for the entire Naval Service and is constructed using 13 giant sails of coloured glass that cast colourful watery shadows onto a white granite terrace. A Kilkenny Limestone sailor, no rank or gender, stands, head bowed to one side. It has proved to be a very popular memorial since it was installed and I am thrilled that it has made this distinguished short list. You can view the full shortlist at www.3rd-dimensionpmsa.org