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Welsh dragon from Oswestry heading for Flanders

Oswestry | News | Published:

A bronze dragon has begun its journey across Europe from Shropshire to take its place atop a memorial to Welsh soldiers who fell in World War I.

The eight foot long dragon has been created at the Castle Fine Arts Foundry in Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, near Oswestry, and set off on Friday night on its 435-mile journey to Flanders.

Chris Weston from the foundry said: "The final colour is red and it's very delicate so it's wrapped very well in blankets for transport.

"We've got 25 members of staff and they all played a part in creating the dragon. It's been a long process. One member of staff will be travelling to Belgium as well to install it.

"It's great. The committee were chuffed to bits and we're very pleased. It's been really done well."

The completed statue - measuring 8ft long and weighing 70st (450kg) - has been wrapped in blankets to protect it during its journey and will be carried on a flat-bed lorry.

During the next week it will be positioned on top of four Welsh Blue Pennant stones which will form a

cromlech as the first memorial to Welsh soldiers in Flanders at Pilkem Ridge near Langemark.

The memorial was the idea of campaigner Peter Jones after he discovered there was nothing to

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commemorate fallen Welsh soldiers in a country where so many were killed. Flanders, in the northern region of Belgium, was the most deadly site for Welsh casualties in the First World War.

The design was created in February by artist Lee Odishaw after three years of work by campaigners and is due to be unveiled at the start of August.

A model of the dragon was created in clay in April from which moulds were made and 25 bronze pieces cast through the lost wax process. The pieces were then assembled and welded together, and a red finish applied.

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