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Message Of Thanks Unveiled On The Thames

New artwork aims to engage viewers about the First World War

A piece of art in the form of a 'Thank You' message has been unveiled on the banks of the River Thames, ahead of events to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. 

The artwork was unveiled on Friday 3 August to mark 100 days before 11 November.

The installation was commissioned by the Royal British Legion to launch a movement to say ‘Thank You’ to the First World War generation who served, fought and died.

Detail of RBL Thank You artwork by the Thames

The sculpture measures 8ft high by 52ft long and is covered with faces from military and civilian life from archives related to the conflict.

Sarah Arnett, the artist behind the project, said she wanted to make the images appear modern in the hope that it will encourage viewers to see them as people. 

"I wanted to represent not just soldiers, the women who worked in the factories, children who helped pick the vegetables"

Veterans and visitors to RBL Thank You artwork by the Thames

A key feature of the artwork is that it is designed to allow the public to contribute to it. They are encouraged to add their own 'Thank You’ messages to the blank areas.

Veteran Tom Weatherall was among the guest at the launched of the artwork and added his own message. 

"I wrote in remembrance of all those who lost their lives in the two world wars"

The 'Thank You’ installation will sit on London’s South Bank by the Tate Modern, before going on a tour of the UK.

Catherine Davies is the Head of Remembrance at the RBL and is looking after the 'Thank You' project. Ahead of the launch, she told Forces Radio BFBS Germany's Chris Pearson what the organisation was hoping to achieve.

"This is our movement to say thank you to the entire generation who lived through the war, who served and sacrificed and changed our world."