Monday, 5 December 2016

Free Spirit

I have to confess that the first time that I heard about the Free Spirit project I was quite sceptical. I thought it was a lot of money for a memorial when I could change lives for such a sum. However, the project has not only moved on, it has grown and listening to the plans and intentions now, I feel that this project should succeed.

Free Spirit will be sited at the National memorial Arboretum. We are waiting for a sunny day to show you what changes have been wrought there.

This is what Tracy from Gartmore Riding for the Disabled and her colleagues have released.

The Free Spirit Horse Memorial is raising funds to create a lasting memorial acknowledging the horse’s unfaltering service to mankind. The memorial will be a life sized bronze statue by award winning sculptress Georgie Welch, and will contain a time capsule for people to share their memories of the horse. A site has been chosen at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, home to 320 thought provoking memorials and with facilities allowing up to 500,000 visitors per year. The horse’s contribution to Britain’s rich history and culture is significant and this accolade to the horse is the only memorial the NMA has granted to an animal in its own right

Horses have played a monumental role in the development of the modern world. The Free Spirit memorial will celebrate this symbol of freedom and strength and preserve the history of the horse and its role in shaping world civilizations and changing lives. Few people today remember the essential role of the horse in human life over thousands of years, and how until a generation ago the horse was part of the everyday experience of life. Some images of the importance of the horse appear in early cave art and the Free Spirit project has an ongoing commitment to provide education to all groups ensuring that the importance of the horse is recognized, embraced, and taught to future generations. The memorial shows endurance, service and partnership and represents quiet determination and trust, the inspiration for which came from young people demonstrating the close bond between human and horse that exists through history, work, rehabilitation, education and the joy and pleasure they provide in leisure and sport. Horses no longer carry soldiers into battle or pull ploughs and carriages, but the unique relationship between horses and humans will remain strong for many years to come.

The Free Spirit Horse Memorial nurtures a philosophy of inclusiveness and the groundworks for the memorial will be specifically designed to allow access by wheelchair users and those with mobility issues. Braille plaques and a tactile representation of the memorial will be created to ensure enjoyment and participation by those with visual impairment. The Free Spirit Memorial supports British community values and embraces respect and tolerance of those with different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. The horse knows no boundaries and the project will help to break down barriers by incorporating the importance of the horse to different generations, races, ethnicities and religions. Embracing the qualities associated with the horse Free Spirit reflects the past, engages with the present and carries a message into tomorrow’s future.

A bronze Free Spirit maquette has been created and the artist has been commissioned to commence work on the life sized sculpture at the start of 2017. We need to raise £200,000 to complete the project and the fundraising total currently stands at £60,000. Donations can be made by post to FSHM, 3 Friary View, Sandford Street, Lichfield WS13 6QX or online at

It is an honour to have horses in our lives and fitting to be able to respect their support and friendship in bronze to last for centuries.

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