215 - Remembering those that made the ultimate sacrifice

Date: 13th December, 2018

Andover Town Council, The Art Room and the Community come together to remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice in World War 1

The 215 Exhibition – Vigo Park

For those of you who attended the Exhibition on Vigo Park on the 10th November 2018 will no doubt feel as honoured as those involved in organising the event.

2 years ago, a team of 6 volunteers sat around a table and discussed ways to commemorate the millions of people who lost their lives during World War I.

The result of their hard work, determination and creativity enable them to pull off what has been described as “one of Andover’s finest events”!

The original team, lead by The Art Room’s very own John Ritchie was meet by an army of volunteers ranging from Councillors & Staff from Andover Town Council Councillors, Scouts and Tracy Mepham (official photographer) to name but a few.

The Team arrived on site at 7am and was greeted with coffees, tea and the add bonus of egg and bacon sandwiches – which at this time of the morning went down a treat.

After the initial briefing it was a case of all hands to the decks before the decorated soldiers would start arriving at 10 am and needed to be in place ready for the event to being ready to be viewed up close and personal from 12pm to 2pm. 

Like clockwork the 27 schools, local businesses and charities started arriving and the soldiers and the scouts worked miracles and all 215 soldiers were in place ready for their creators and the general public to see, take photos and more importantly take time to reflect.

The sight of the Soldiers all lined up in their rows and their images and stories of the past meant there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen.

The event took on and even more moving emotion, as the sunset the soldiers were individual backlight and their haunting silhouettes dominated the darkness of the night.  The atmosphere, the poems the music all adding to the over feeling and the crowds came in their 100’s to witness this one-off event to remember those that paid the ultimate price and gave their today’s for our tomorrow’s.

A great event from start to finish and one that only happened as a result of a community as a whole working together.  So, on top of the schools, businesses, charities and volunteers. A massive thank you also needs to be said to the following organisations for either kindly sponsoring or providing materials, equipment or their time for the event:-

Hampshire County Council
Test Valley Borough Council
Tesco Bag Scheme
Andover Radio for providing the awesome soundscape for free!
Commercial Lighting for providing custom made lighting and donating their time for free!
Volunteers for working tirelessly through the entire day.

Andover, you did yourselves proud and it is a day generation’s both young and old will remember for the rest of their days.

One member of the Public summed up the fact it was a one day only event, as it just added to the effect….They were here and then they were gone and unable to join us for Armistice Day!!!