£40k boost for Wilfred Owen project
A project to commemorate World War One poet Wilfred Owen has won a £41,000 grant from the National Lottery.
Wilfred Owen was killed just days before the Armistice was declared in 1918.
The 25-year-old was born in Oswestry and spent much of his life in Shrewsbury before enlisting in the Army. The centenary of his death will be marked by a series of events over the 100 days from August 4 to the anniversary of the Armistice on November 11.
Over the last three years Shropshire communities have been working in partnership to deliver a programme of heritage and arts activities to commemorate the centenary of the Great War, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.
This programme, called Wilfred Owen 100, focuses on Shrewsbury and Oswestry, and will remember him with poetry readings, music, talks, new installations such as a mural at Shrewsbury station and themed guided walks.
Shrewsbury Heritage, Shropshire Archives and Shropshire Arts Service will coordinate a countywide partnership. A free programme of cultural arts activities and events around will be published in May.
The life and contribution of Wilfred Owen, and all the other men and women of Shropshire who were swept up into the services during the conflict, will be a key element in the programme, but the wider social impact of the war on all the inhabitants of Shropshire will also be of great importance.
In the First World War Shropshire played a key role as a location for large scale training and prisoner of war camps, as well as providing more than 40 hospitals, often located in country houses like Stokesay Court.
Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “I’m delighted to celebrate this generous award by the Heritage Lottery Fund to commemorate Wilfred Owen, one of the most significant and influential First World War poets. The project will celebrate his achievements, as well as connecting Shropshire’s communities with their own World War One history.”
Vanessa Harbar, head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF has already invested more than £90million to more than 1,700 projects – large and small - that are marking this global Centenary; with our small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in Wilfred Owen 100.
“Shropshire Remembers to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”