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Artist commissioned to bring Charnwood war horse to life

  • Artist Jeni Cairns

An artist has been commissioned to create an armature of Charnwood war horse Songster for this year’s Remembrance Day commemorations which will mark 100 years since the end of World War One.

Charnwood Borough Council has appointed award-winning artist Jeni Cairns to create a life-sized model of Songster, who survived many trials and tribulations while serving in war and returned safely to the borough in 1919.

The war horse will form part of the “Charnwood 14-18” commemoration events in Loughborough on November 11 which will also include the annual remembrance parade, a showcase event in the town centre and the unveiling of a heritage plaque.

Jeni said: “I feel honoured to have been chosen to create Songster in conjunction with Charnwood Borough Council.

“The story about Songster is really touching and the World War One commemorations are so important to all of us.  I’m really looking forward to seeing the life-size sculpture of Songster start to take shape.”

Cllr Jenny Bokor, the Council’s lead member for Loughborough said: “We’re hosting a number of special events this year to mark the World War One Centenary and I am so pleased we’ve been able to commission Jeni to create an armature of Songster.

“Songster will start the day at Charnwood Museum in Queens Park and can be viewed following the Remembrance Day Service.  Songster will be a focal point of our commemorations and will join the procession through the town centre to culminate in the Market Place. The war horse will be covered in poppies made by local school children and community groups in Charnwood so the project has been very inclusive of all ages.”

Songster went to war in 1914 and served in France where he was awarded several medals for his bravery. He was the oldest war horse of the war, and the veteran passed away at home in Woodhouse Eaves in January 1940.

Jeni, from Whittlesey near Peterborough, will use metal rods to create a three dimensional frame of Songster which will be moved through the town on November 11.The armature will feature plasma cut medals which were awarded to Songster for his bravery throughout the war. 

Jeni is also a garden designer and works in a range of mediums including sculpture, painting and drawing.  Her garden designs have won several awards including gold for best in show at RHS Hampton Court in 2016. Some of Jeni’s recent work includes designing and building a bicycle shelter for Sleaford Council and a sculpture for Ferry Meadows in Peterborough.

The procession of Songster is just one of many events taking place in Loughborough on Sunday November 11, 2018.

Other events include a tea dance at Loughborough Town Hall, the lighting of a beacon in Queen’s Park at 7pm as part of a nationwide scheme and the ringing of the Carillon bells. There will also be an exhibition at the town hall and Century of Stories at Charnwood Museum.

More information about the events taking place on Sunday November 11, 2018 can be found on the Council website. www.charnwood.gov.uk/ww1_events . Community groups can add their events to the web page by emailing neighbourhoods.communities@charnwood.gov.uk