Over the past few months we have worked with the Charity Remembered to bring our own, ‘There But Not There’ installation to the Castle and Museum.
This week we talked with Rowley Gregg, Director of Operations at Remembered to find out more about the charity’s work, the impact of the ‘There But Not There’ installations and their plans for the future.
What inspires you about your role at Remembered?
I spent 7 years in the army with the Light Dragoons and completed 2 tours in Afghanistan. There are so many positives to a career in the military; I built some great friendships and it made me who I am today, but as we are now beginning to understand, the effects of conflict can be far reaching and leave service personnel with mental and physical wounds which need to be treated. I’ve seen the effects of war first hand, so to be able to run a charity and a project that is both commemorating the fallen and, crucially, raising funds for charities who carry out such valuable work supporting veterans, gives me great satisfaction and drive to do more.
Can you tell us the story behind the There But Not There installation?
It was started in a church in Penshurst, Kent, where an artist called Martin Barraud came up with an installation of 52 seated silhouettes to represent the 52 men from his village who died in the First World War. It left such an impression with those who saw it that it was decided to make it a national (and now international!) installation of remembrance, which communities can take part in. We wanted to make sure that this was a commemorative project with a positive effect today, so our Tommy figure was designed and RBLI bought on board as manufacturers, meaning we are raising money for veterans at the same time as providing employment for veterans. The Tommy figures are now in WH Smith high street stores as well as our website so we hope they are purchased far and wide in the next couple of months to help us raise money for our beneficiaries.
How you do think the public has responded to the installation?
We’ve been thrilled with the response. Almost 3,500 communities will be hosting silhouette installations and (so far!) 75,000 people have bought a Tommy to commemorate a family member of person of significance to them. All these Tommy sales make a big difference to our beneficiaries so we hope it continues to reach people.
What legacy do you hope will be achieved by There But Not There?
I hope it makes people around the country realise the true impact of the First World War on communities around the world. We want to remember for the right reasons, to make sure lessons are learned from these terrible events and looking forward, to ensure those who have been affected by conflict are looked after as I believe they should be.
What is next for Remembered?
We have some exciting plans looking into next year which we’ll announce in due course , but for now I’m just focussed on making There But Not There as successful we can and raising as much money as possible for those who need it.