LOCAL artist Gary Wellz is putting the finishing touches to his World War 1 memorial piece, which will be displayed in shops around the town before being auctioned for charity.
The image depicts the Westbury White Horse alongside a soldier, an anchor, and a biplane. Gary made the picture using pieces of fallen bark from the sequoia redwood tree in Soisy Gardens.
Gary said, “It started off as the White Horse and I was going to paint it, but I was told it looked like the War Horse. It coincided with the centenary so I decided to elaborate with the soldier, and later added the anchor and plane to represent the Navy and the RAF. There’s no set background at the moment; I’m thinking of changing it every time I take it to a new home.
“There are 92 poppies that make up the border – one for every soldier from Westbury killed in the Great War. There was a bit of confusion because only 91 people are listed on the town memorial, but I decided to go with the church record.
“It was the first time I’ve worked with bark and I’m very happy with how it’s turned out. Hopefully other people and charities can benefit from it.”
Gary, an ex-theatre technician, has been painting and drawing for over 20 years, and his passion is aircraft. He created a painting of a Spitfire, which was signed by RAF pilots and auctioned by the Royal British Legion, raising over £300.
The Westbury WW1 collage will be put on display in a number of shops around the town, beginning with Davies of Westbury, then Gary plans to take it to Andrea’s Flower Shop, the library, the heritage centre, and a number of others. A poem will accompany the piece, called ‘Our Fallen Heroes’ and written by Caroline Joyce.
The collage will then be auctioned off and the proceeds donated to the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.
Pictured: Gary with the memorial piece.