By Andy Cheese, Teacher of Art
Over the last three years, I have been working with a committee of local residents in Buriton to create a war memorial bench. The community in Buriton has marked the centenary of the First World War in a number of ways since 2014, which is particularly important because per capita the Parish of Buriton sent more men to the Great War than any other district in the Petersfield area. Sadly, research revealed that there were a number of casualties who died during or shortly after World War I who are not named on the village’s War Memorial; the bench project aims to commemorate all those who suffered and were affected by war in the past, present and future.
Public engagement, including a design competition for local schoolchildren and households and a ballot, resulted in an approved design for a permanent feature by way of a curved Portland stone bench positioned into sloping ground behind the existing War Memorial. The back of the bench will depict scenes of wartime activity at home and abroad, and I have designed these. An important milestone in the project has been reached as we have just received the laser-cut brass copies of my design, which you can see below. I am still working on a poppy mosaic to be positioned in front of the bench.
This has been a great community project, funded by local people, and the bench – which looks over to the Buriton pond – will be a fine place for people to sit and reflect on World War I and its impact on the community of Buriton.