March 18th would have been Wilfred Owen's 127th birthday - sadly, his splendid memorial 'SYMMETRY' in the grounds of Shrewsbury Abbey by the sculptor Paul de Monchaux has fallen into disrepair after almost three decades (it was unveiled in 1993).
A campaign to raise money for its restoration it is well underway, thanks to a generous donation by Veolia and the generosity of individuals involved in the original concept and design, but it is still short of the £6,500 needed - please see details below of how you can contribute to its completion.
It is hard to believe that it was 27 year ago that the children of Wilfred Owen School carefully lifted the cloth to reveal the pale granite abstract sculpture, carved with the single line 'I am the enemy you killed my friend'. Twenty five doves, one for every year of Owen's short life, were released to mark the moment. SYMMETRY represents the pontoon bridge over the Sambre Oise canal where Owen was killed. The scupture expresses the significance of the poet as bridge builder and communicator. Symmetries in the design represent symmetries in Owen's poem 'Strange Meeting' from which the inscription is taken. Its deliberate dual function as a bench represents another way of spanning the uncertain ground, a safe haven. The sculpture is mounted on a circular York stone base and a plaque gives information about the poet.
Caroline Thewles of the Wilfred Owen Association, said: "Time and weather have left their mark on SYMMETRY and with the new decade, plans are well in hand to refurbish the memorial. The work will be carried out by one of the UK's leading specialists in the conservation and restoration of monuments and memorials."
It is hoped that the work will be undertaken during the summer months, with a grand rededication and unveiling planned for later this year. We will keep you updated
If you are able to kindly donate, please make cheques payable to The Wilfred Owen Association (please write SYMMETRY on the back of your cheque and your name and address) and sent to Caroline Thewles, The Merchant’s House, 79 Coton Hill, Shrewsbury SY1 2DP.
You can also pay by BACS: Account Name: The Wilfred Owen Association. Sort Code 30.97.62 Account No: 00454221