There But Not There Westminster Abbey Art Installation First World War WW1
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Slow Uptake Of Tommy Sculptures By Councils 'A Shame', Says Ex-Army Chief

Sluggish uptake in a campaign to have councils install Tommy sculptures across the country has been branded a "shame" by a former head of...

There But Not There Westminster Abbey Art Installation First World War WW1

Image: There But Not There

Sluggish uptake in a campaign to have councils install Tommy sculptures across the country has been branded a "shame" by a former head of the Army.

Since its launch in February, only around a third of councils are said to have installed one of the 6ft-tall silhouettes, which are part of a drive to raise £15 million for armed forces and mental health charities.

General Lord Dannatt has written to council chiefs to urge them to get behind the 'There But Not There' project, however, some have reportedly declined to take part, while others have not responded to his request.

Each aluminium sculptures depicts the outline of a soldier holding a rifle with his head lowered, and requires a donation of £750. 

'There But Not There' aims to place these silhouettes, representing those who made the ultimate sacrifice, around the country as part of a First World War commemoration.

Writing in the Daily Express, General Lord Dannatt said:

"We are delighted that 160 councils have installed the Tommies but it is a shame that more than 250 are yet to do so.

"The campaign gives communities and individuals a chance to connect with their past and the role that their cities, towns, villages and loved ones played in the First World War.

There But Not There Westminster Abbey Grave Of The Unknown Warrior Art Installation First World War WW1
Image: Tommies stand watch over the Grave Of The Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey (Credit: There But Not There).

"It is the responsibility of local councils to play a central role in this, paying tribute to their constituents who gave so much in one of the defining periods of this country's history."

More than 1,000 of the sculptures have been sold in the UK and overseas, including installations in New York, San Francisco, Ottawa, Toronto and Gibraltar.

The campaign's director, Rowley Gregg, said: "When city authorities all over the world are getting on board but our own local councils aren't, you have to wonder why.

"It is particularly frustrating that many local councils have yet to acknowledge Lord Dannatt's letter and we urge the remaining 63% to get involved in what is a hugely important campaign."

The Local Government Association said its members were commemorating the centenary in different ways.

A spokesman said: "Councils are leading efforts to enable communities to commemorate the centenary of World War One and pay tribute to those who gave their lives.

"This is being done in a number of ways, including offering grants to community groups and co-ordinating parades.

"Many councils will also be hosting a beacon of light as part of the Battle's Over national tribute to mark this solemn occasion."

General Lord Dannatt spoke to Forces News about the importance of the campaign in May, 2018: