Soldiers to help sculptor repair damaged Edith Weston work

Edith Weston sculpture unveiling. Photo: Alan Walters EMN-141124-105715001

Edith Weston sculpture unveiling. Photo: Alan Walters EMN-141124-105715001

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Soldiers have agreed to help repair a sculpture celebrating links between the Army and a village which they damaged while drunk.

The works by Mo Gardner, named Army and the Community 2, were knocked over by soldiers from the nearby St George’s Barracks in Edith Weston on the night of February 12.

Sculptor Mo, who designed the pieces to celebrate the link between the barracks and the village, was initially shocked to see the damage.

But after the soldiers responsible went to her studio to apologise, she softened her stance and offered them the chance to help repair the work.

Morcott resident Mo, who made similar sculptures for Kendrew Barracks in Cottesmore, said: “The young squaddies got a bit enthusiastic and the sculptures got damaged.

“I have since met them - they came to my studio, wrote me a very apologetic letter and have apologised in person.

“I was very upset when I thought it was malicious but it definitely wasn’t.”

One of the sculptures that make up the display can be repaired, but the other will have to be redone.

Mo said the soldier who caused the damage had agreed to pay for the extra work.

“When they get back from tour they will help me collect a piece of stone from the quarry and help me to work on it,” she added.

“The Army have been brilliant, right up to the top brass who phoned me from Germany.”

After the statues were damaged, the Edith Weston community was quick to offer support.

Mo said: “I was pleased to hear how shocked and upset the villagers were, which makes me feel very cherished.

“People have been very kind and supportive about it.”

Work to repair the sculptures will have to be put on hold for several weeks while Mo recovers from shoulder surgery. But she is keen to get going and hopes to teach the soldiers a new skill once they return from tour.

The original sculpture in Manton Road was unveiled by High Sheriff of Rutland Miles Williamson-Noble in November. It comprised two groups of figures to illustrate the village and the troops.

At the time Mo said: “It represents the Army, in its many facets, paying particular respect to the Dog Handling Unit, recently arrived, and the local community of Edith Weston, which derives its name from Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor. These two, separate, yet together, in a shared space, different, yet all people.”

Mo said she wanted to give the sculpture a natural finish with rough edges for lichen and moss to grow on the stone in time.