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Statue of WW1 Corporal donated to Penwortham school memorial garden

Posted on - 28th April, 2024 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Education, History, Penwortham, Preston News, Proud Preston, Schools, South Ribble News
Tommy with John Winders, gardener Chris Farron (second left) Principal Matt Eastham (third left), Lead Teacher for History Alistair Eccles (second right) and Priory's Head Prefects.
Tommy with John Winders, gardener Chris Farron (second left) Principal Matt Eastham (third left), Lead Teacher for History Alistair Eccles (second right) and Priory’s Head Prefects.

A new addition to a war memorial garden has been unveiled at a secondary school in Penwortham.

Penwortham Priory Academy were donated a statue of Corporal Tommy, which stands in their ‘Lest We Forget’ Memorial Garden.

The sculpture was carved by John Winders and donated via the Preston Rotary Club.

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Preston South Rotary Club Carole Cockrane, carver John Winders, Geoff Todhunter, Frank Killen and Derian House Anne-Marie Fishwick
Preston South Rotary Club Carole Cockrane, carver John Winders, Geoff Todhunter, Frank Killen and Derian House Anne-Marie Fishwick

Instead of accepting payments, John requests that a donation be made to one of his preferred charities. In return for the statue donation, £500 was gifted to children’s charity, Derian House, by the Club.

Geoff Todhunter, member of the Rotary Club, said: “When he was nearing completion of his World War 1 soldier he was wondering where it could be erected and I undertook, on behalf of my Rotary Club, to try and find somewhere suitable.

“Penwortham Town Council approached local schools on our behalf and we are delighted that Penwortham Priory Academy gladly accepted it for their Memorial Garden.

“The end result is that Derian House will receive a significant donation from Rotary; John is delighted to know the statue has found a suitable home; the school will receive a nice focal point for their Memorial Garden and the Rotary Club pulled it altogether.”

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Preston South Rotary Club Carole Cockrane, carver John Winders, Geoff Todhunter, Frank Killen
Preston South Rotary Club Carole Cockrane, carver John Winders, Geoff Todhunter, Frank Killen

John took up wood-carving as a hobby when he retired, carving anything from animals to Paddington Bear. The Corporal Tommy sculpture took six months in total.

He said: “I got the idea from the soldier in Astley Park and I thought I would have a crack at it.

“It’s different to what I normally do, I have made many animals and characters and they are in the grounds of Derian House which is a charity I support. It’s lovely to see Tommy in a school.”

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Year eight pupils at the school are currently studying the war as part of their history lessons.

Matt Eastham, Priory’s principal, said: “We are blessed with having outdoor learning spaces and we hold our Remembrance Ceremony in our Memorial Garden every November so this is a fantastic addition to the learning environment.

“We have already noticed pupils looking at Tommy and hopefully this will stimulate discussion about him and history.”

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