RJAH is final stop in poppy sculpture tour of Shropshire

If you have visited the county’s specialist orthopaedic hospital in recent days, you might have noticed the stunning poppy sculpture currently on display in the main entrance.

From left, William Dawber, Chairman and Poppy Appeal Organiser for Ford and District branch of the Royal British Legion – Shrewsbury; Lee Osborne, Transformation Lead and Veterans’ Service Project Manager; and Louis McDonald, Project Manager and Staff Reservist
From left, William Dawber, Chairman and Poppy Appeal Organiser for Ford and District branch of the Royal British Legion – Shrewsbury; Lee Osborne, Transformation Lead and Veterans’ Service Project Manager; and Louis McDonald, Project Manager and Staff Reservist

This is because The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) has been chosen by the Royal British Legion (RBL) to be the final location in Shropshire to showcase their Centenary Poppy sculpture throughout the month of May. 

The sculpture was created by Shropshire artists, Lyn Evans and Nik Burns, to remember all from the county who gave their lives in the First World War.

It features the names of the 5,286 people from Shropshire, who lost their lives in the First World War on poppies. These poppies were written on by children from 81 primary schools in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin

The sculpture, which was first unveiled at St Chad’s Church in Shrewsbury last year, and will return there next month to mark the Treaty of Versailles.

The Trust was selected due to its work in supporting those who currently serve and have previously served in the Armed Forces.

It also coincides with the hospital’s current fundraising appeal, which aims to raise £1.5 million, to fund the country’s first Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre.

Last year RJAH was recognised for its outstanding support of its Armed Forces staff by receiving the prestigious Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award 2018 from the Ministry of Defence. While in 2017, the Trust also signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant.

Mark Brandreth, RJAH Chief Executive, said: “We were absolutely delighted when the RBL initially approached us, asking whether we would be the final location in the sculpture’s tour of Shropshire.

“The sculpture is incredibly moving. It’s only been here for a few days, and already its attracted lots of interest from our patients and visitors. We’ve seen lots of people taking pictures and asking questions about it.

“As an organisation, we truly value our Armed Forces staff and patients, so it makes complete sense for us to house the sculpture. We run a thriving veterans’ service, and last year we launched our fundraising campaign to build the UK’s first dedicated Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre.”

Jenny Robey, RBL Community Fundraiser for Shropshire, said: “Last year, the Royal British Legion asked everyone to find their own way to say thank you to the generation who lived through the First World War; to those who served, sacrificed and changed our world.

“The sculpture was our thank you and we hope, as it has travelled across the county during the last year, it has encouraged others to remember all year round those who were lost, but also those who returned, remained and formed our communities in Shropshire.”

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