Market Drayton's community war mural to be inducted into Imperial War Museum project

A stunning mural created by a Shropshire community to commemorate the First World War is being inducted into a project at the Imperial War Museum.

Schoolchildren, community groups and individual members of the public in Market Drayton contributed hundreds of buttons for the five-part poppy-filled mural depicting the town, created in 2018 for the centenary.

The project was co-ordinated by Suzanne Edwards, organiser of the annual Drayton ArtsFest, and then-mayor Mark Whittle, who designed the rural scene.

The mural is made up of buttons and features local scenes as well as wartime vehicles

Former soldier and artist Mr Whittle set out the design, including military vehicles, before he became mayor. People contributed buttons of all shapes and sizes, and the 164 men from Market Drayton who died in the First World War are honoured in paper poppies thanks to calligrapher Irene Stasinski.

The huge artwork has pride of place at the Beacon Community Centre, and now the Imperial War Museum has invited Mrs Edwards to include the mural in its 'Mapping the Centenary' project.

The local men who died in the conflict are commemorated on individual poppies

She said: "It's fantastic because every button that was put on there was put on there by someone in Market Drayton."

Mr Whittle, who served in the Falklands before retiring and settling in Market Drayton, said he was "chuffed" to hear of the Imperial War Museum's interest in the artwork.

He included a number of period-appropriate military vehicles in his design.

"It's brilliant news, it's historically correct and it was a total community effort.

"All the hard work was done by the people, the children in the schools and the senior as well.

"Everybody from age five or six upwards did something on there."

He also said he hoped that the project's inclusion would educate people from all over the world about Market Drayton's military history.

Market Drayton has longstanding military links because of nearby bases, and in 1918 several projects were launched for the centenary.

Learn more about the mural at draytonartsfest.org/2018-events/ww1-centenary-mural-project/ and see the Imperial War Museum's updating map at iwm.org.uk/partnerships/mapping-the-centenary.

Mrs Edwards previously said: “The button picture and poppies were all created by children from 12 primary schools and members of local community groups.

“The 164 named poppies were hand written by 88-year-old Irene Stasinski – one for each local person who lost their life in the conflict. The commemorative plaque was made and donated by Roy Bickley and Glyn Jackson.

“The five mural sections and the commemorative plaque were all elegantly fixed in place on the wall in the Beacon Centre by Weldon and Alex from Market Drayton Men’s Shed.

“The finished mural looks fantastic and you really have to see it up close to appreciate it.”

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